Brief History of Regulatory & Scientific Determinations of Carrageenan

The safety of carrageenan has been upheld by scientific organizations and regulatory authorities worldwide. Below is a historical listing of carrageenan’s safety and approval determinations.

  • 1961: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved carrageenan as a safe, direct food additive for human consumption, specifying that the name carrageenan must be used on the label.
  • 1969: The Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) reviewed carrageenan and found it to be suitable for use in food.
  • 1973: U.S. FDA assigned Chondrus extract (carrageenan) to Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list (GRAS ID Code 9000-07-1; 21CFR182.7255).
  • 1977: The European Commission (EC) Scientific Committee for Food approved carrageenan as a food additive.
  • 1995: The European Directive 95/2/EC listed carrageenan as permitted additive.
  • 1999: Carrageenan is listed as a permitted additive in Codex Alimentarius Commission CAC/GL 32, Guideline for the Production, Processing, Labeling and Marketing of Organically Produced Foods.
  • 2003: The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) added carrageenan to the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances (68 FR 61993; October 31, 2003) as a Nonsynthetic Allowed
  • 2005: Carrageenan was listed as an approved additive by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM).
  • 2006: Carrageenan was listed in the Pacific Organic Standard as a permitted additive in organic food processing.
  • 2006: The Canadian General Standards Board approved carrageenan for use in organic handling and processing (Permitted Substances List CAN/CGSB-32.311-2006).
  • 2007: The East African Organic Product Standard listed carrageenan in its Organic Product Standard as an additive approved I organic food processing.
  • 2008: EC Regulation No 889/2008 permitted the use of carrageenan as a food additive in preparation of plant-origin organic food products or animal-origin, dairy-based organic food products (Commission of the European Communities, 2008).
  • 2008: USDA retained carrageenan on the National List.
  • 2013: USDA renewed the listing of carrageenan on the National List as a Nonsynthetic, nonagricultural (nonorganic) substances allowed for use in organic production (78 FR 61154; October 3, 2013).
  • 2014: JECFA reviewed carrageenan for use in infant formula and formula for special medical purposes finding it to be safe for these uses.
  • 2018: USDA again renewed the listing of carrageenan on the National List as a Nonsynthetic, nonagricultural (nonorganic) substances allowed for use in organic production (83 FR 14347; April 4, 2018).
  • 2018: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) reaffirmed the safety of carrageenan and PES in food while recommending more information is needed to confirm the acceptable daily intake level (ADI).

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