Carrageenan is an additive that stabilizes the product it is added to. Not everyone understands why this is necessary. In fact, stabilizing products means less waste, which means less pollution of our environment through filled landfills. Foods have longer shelf life, products like lotions and cosmetics last longer. This means they are not thrown away and replaced as quickly, which means the replacement products aren’t at a higher demand, which in turn means less environmental impact due to plants working to make new products.
There are four specific benefits to carrageenan, in addition to its stabilization properties, that make it worthwhile to use and show that it is helpful and not harmful.
Safe Enough to Use In Food
Many studies have been done, with roughly 40 years of results carefully evaluated. During that time, all scientists have agreed that carrageenan is a safe and suitable substitute to use in foods. Meanwhile, it can be helpful in non-food products as well. People who are concerned about their lotions, cosmetics, paints and varnishes can feel relief if the stabilizer used in these products can also be used in their foods.
Acceptable in Foods that Fit Restrictive Religious Diet
When used in certain foods, it fits the restrictions for halal and kosher criteria. That means that people whose religions restrict their exposure to gelatin and other additives can still enjoy that food, since carrageenan is not prohibited. This opens a lot of doors for people who have limited choices in the foods permitted by religion, and it usually helps them access foods that have a longer shelf life.
Helpful in Cutting Fossil Fuel Pollution
Due to a longer shelf life, less requirement for refrigeration and even helping cut the amount of fats and sugars included in each serving of a food, this additive brings a lot of benefits without any notable negative impact. Those benefits include decreases in electricity use, decreases in the amount of fossil fuels needed for production, transport and storage. This is a shock, considering the various alternatives used and their negative effects that are readily noted in studies that have been conducted.
Cultivation and Processing Are Environmentally Friendly
Carrageenan is found in red seaweed, which is grown naturally. Red seaweed provides a crop for small farms in Southeast Asia to produce, eliminating their need for fresh water and arable land. It also is processed in a way that increases the usefulness of the carrageenan in the product, cutting down on the amount of waste produced with the product.
The decision to use carrageenan rather than a man-made stabilizer means a lot of benefits for the environment and the purchaser of the food or product. It helps out producers who would otherwise struggle to find a way to survive and feed themselves. Finally, it cuts down on the use of electricity and fossil fuels.
This particular stabilizer also has the benefit of years of study to determine its danger to the world in general which has been determined to be no danger at all. People can enjoy their foods and keep them longer, all thanks to this additive. They also don’t have to fear any negative side effects from the use of this additive in foods.