Effect of Carrageenan to Vulnerable People
Now a day, carrageenan is commonly used additive in the food industry because of its wide applicability. Due to this reasons, its safety characteristics and usage was also noted. One issue that is brought about regarding the use of carrageenan in the food industy was its carcinogenic effect. According to study, carrageenan is not the main concern about the issue but its degradation product which is poligeenan. Poligeenan is produced from carrageenan when subjected to high temperatures and acidity. According to literature, the average carrageenan molecule weighs more than 100,000 Da, while poligeenans have a molecular weight of less than 50,000 Da. Based on animal studies and experiments, poligeenan may cause ulcerations in the gastro-intestinal tract and gastro-intestinal cancer (Tobacman, 2001). The said research shows that poligeenan can lead to colon cancer in laboratory animals; the International Agency for Research in Cancer recognizes degraded carrageenan (poligeenan) as a “possible human carcinogen”. The US FDA considers natural carrageenans (E407) to be safe as food additive but advises molecular weight determination to be made on samples prior to their use in foods, to ensure degraded products are not used (FDA, 2006). Scientist working on behalf of the European commission recommended that the amount of degraded carrageenan (poligeenan) be limited to a maximum of 5% of total carrageenan mass. Different data on intake from Europe, Canada and the USA were summarized and noted that the resulting mean intake estimates were consistent, falling within a range of 30-50 mg/person/day from the use of carrageenan and processed Eucheuma seaweed as food additives (JECFA, 2002). The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) stated in 2007 that, “it is inadvisable to use carrageenan or processed eucheuma seaweed in infant formulas. At this point, I can suggest that vulnerable people like infants, pregnant...
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