Carrageenan is in the news again, and its not good news.  Decades of science is challenging the FDA’s stance on the common human and pet food additive.  The leg the FDA stands on seems to be bought and paid for by industry.

I’d guess 60% to 70% of all canned pet foods include the ingredient carrageenan.  Pet food manufacturers in support of carrageenan tell consumers undegraded carrageenan is safe and confirm this is the type of carrageenan they use.  They explain to inquiring pet food consumers that research shows degraded carrageenan is the risky one, ‘We don’t use degraded carrageenan; we only use undegraded which research has shown is safe.’

But is there any safe carrageenan?  Is there any science – specifically un-biased science – that supports the safety of undegraded carrageenan (as stated by pet food manufacturers)?

In a recent Chicago Tribune article on the safety/risks of carrageenan, the Tribune asked the international trade association representing producers of carrageenan “if they were aware of any peer-reviewed scientific research that supported the safety of carrageenan but wasn’t performed by industry-funded scientists”.  Three weeks later, no such science was produced.

Michael Adams, deputy director of FDA’s Office of Food Additive Safety, told the Chicago Tribune a 2006 rat study is the “gold standard” (proving the safety of carrageenan and foundation of FDA stance carrageenan is safe).  Strangely, the deputy director of FDA’s Food Additive Safety Office wasn’t aware (or wasn’t admitting he was aware) that this ‘gold standard’ study was performed by a manufacturer of carrageenan.  Mr. Adams continued to defend the industry’s bought and paid for research stating (please sit down for this…) “it doesn’t matter where the money comes from.”

(Perhaps as a fund raiser for our consumer stakeholder group Association for Truth in Pet Food, we should offer to sell ocean front property in Arizona to FDA.  Seems like they’ll buy anything…wink, wink.)

Carrageenan is a seaweed extract; it provides no nutritional benefit to the pet.  It’s only purpose is to glue a pet food together for a meat loaf type appearance. currently is sponsoring a petition to FDA urging the agency to remove carrageenan from food.  Click Here to read.

If your pet’s canned food contains the ingredient carrageenan, call the manufacturer and ask to see the peer-reviewed science not performed by industry-funded scientists proving the safety of the ingredient.  Let me know what they provide you (or if they ignore you!).

To read more about the pet food ingredient carrageenan, Click Here and/or Here.

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Association for Truth in Pet Food
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible

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