Carrageenans are seaweed-derived polysaccharides used widely. They have powerful gelling, thickening, and stabilizing properties. Carrageenan is primarily composed of dietary fiber.

Health considerations

Human tissue-based studies have associated carrageenan with causing inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Similarly, animal-based studies have presented evidence that carrageenans may encourage colon cancer and colitis-like illness. However, doses that can be reasonably expected from normal patterns of food intake are not associated with evidence of negative health effects.

Keep in mind

In Europe carrageenan is not allowed in infant formulas, but is permitted in other foods.

May be found in

Non-dairy milks, ice cream, yogurt, whipped cream, reduced fat cream cheese, cream, beer, fruit gel candies, condensed milk


Critical Reviews in Toxicology
Cancer Research

Alternative Spellings and Names

Carrageenin, E407

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