This Ingredient Spotlight is a regular feature from Be Food Smart. Check back daily to see the ingredient of the day.

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In recent news, this popular food additive was found to be effective against the common cold and the H1N1 flu virus!

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Carrageenan

Names: Ammonium Carrageenan, Calcium Carrageenan, Potassium Carrageenan, Sodium Carrageenan, Chondrus Extract, Irish Moss

Uses: Stabilizer, Texturizer, Emulsifier

E Number: E407

Found In: ice cream, chocolate milk, sherbet, jam, jelly, cheese spread, dressings, crackers, pastries, custard, evaporated milk, whipped cream, infant formula, soy milk

Description: Derived from a red seaweed by heating and converting into a gel. Used to thicken and stabilize processed foods. Also used as an emulsifier in certain products. Roughly 80% of the world’s supply comes from the Philippines. In 2007, the joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives (JECFA) indicated that carrageenan should be restricted in infant formula due to the gastrointestinal effects on infants.

Allergy Information: May cause allergic reaction in sensitive individuals

Possible Health Effects: InĀ  animal studies, results indicated that when carrageenan was subject to high temperatures…read more on Carrageenan.

Copyright July 2, 2010 Be Food Smart, Updated December 20, 2010

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Be Food Smart was created to educate and inform the public about what’s really in the foods we eat every day. The site has a huge database of food additives, chemicals, food colorings, sweeteners, and preservatives and allows one to search for over 400 ingredient names. Our unique ingredient reports contain simple and easy to understand descriptions, alternate names, possible health effects, and allergy information. The site is completely free and is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, health care professionals, dietitians, and concerned consumers.