KEY INTERVIEW: Carrageenan Fights Back As Study Confirms Its Safety in Food Use
On February 15, 2016, Food Ingredients First published an interview with toxicologist Dr. Myra Weiner, Carrageenan Fights Back As Study Confirms Its Safety in Food Use. In the interview, Dr. Weiner discusses common weaknesses in food additive research, using carrageenan as a case study. The interview is similar to Dr. Weiner’s recently published analysis of prior carrageenan research published in Food and Chemical Toxicology (and available here). The article states that Dr. Weiner is of the opinion that previous studies which found carrageenan to be a potential carcinogen and toxic to the human body were not only flawed, but presented errors contrary to modern research criteria established under Good Laboratory Practices (GLP) guidelines.
Dr. Weiner’s analysis notes at least 12 in vitro carrageenan studies of carrageenan that used human colon cells to draw conclusions about carrageenan toxicity based on assumption that the cells were typical of normal human colon cells. However, Dr. Weiner’s analysis found that there were significant abnormalities to the cell lines used. In addition to the abnormal cell lines, Dr. Weiner also notes failures to include source information, contamination possibilities, and other influencing factors that likely contributed to the results observed.
The article also points out Dr. Weiner’s findings that many of the flawed studies used poligeenan, which is often confused with carrageenan. She also found exposure techniques used in many of the studies, including direct injection into the bloodstream and submersion in water, which are not analogous to human exposure. Dr. Weiner also points out the Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) review of carrageenan in infant products as evidence of carrageenan safety.