What is Carrageenan?

  • Article
  • July 24, 2015

When looking at a food label, some food ingredients can seem unfamiliar or overwhelming, leading to a lot of questions. We would like to help answer your questions, so you can feel good about the food decisions you make for yourself and your family. A question we have heard recently is, “What is carrageenan?”

Carrageenan is an extract that comes from seaweed that has been used to thicken foods for hundreds of years. It may be used in dairy foods like ice cream, yogurt, cottage cheese and flavored milk – as well as other foods and beverages to provide a creamy texture.

It also helps keep foods from separating. For chocolate milk, it helps keep the cocoa from traveling to the bottom of the carton. It can also be found in jelly, pie filling, chocolate and salad dressing.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government safety organizations consider carrageenan to be safe