The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided that organic food companies can keep using an emulsifier called carrageenan in foods like ice cream and high-protein drinks, despite a vote by an influential organic advisory committee to ban the ingredient.
Carrageenan is extracted from seaweed and has a long history of use as a thickening agent in food. In foods like high-protein beverages, it helps keep the liquid smooth and well-mixed, even after days sitting on a store shelf. It helps give ice cream its distinctive mouthfeel.
The debate over carrageenan has split the organics industry. Organic purists such as the Cornucopia Institute campaigned to ban it from organic food, citing scientific studies that observed intestinal problems among laboratory animals that ate the substance. Established organic food companies, on the other hand, fought to continue using it. Not only is it safe, they argued; no other natural emulsifier can take its place.
Read full, original post: USDA Defies Advisers, Allows Carrageenan To Keep Organic Label