I am sorry what? That was my first reaction when reading the first of many articles on the dangers of carrageenan in a variety of organic and non-organic products I was currently using on a daily basis! Just FYI, I am not one of those 'cancer is in everything' paranoid and organic-vegetarian-health-nuts; but I do consider myself a strict 'holding-government-agencies-accountable' when they just silently allow and sanction certain ingredients to be let loose in the cosmetic and food markets! I expect the FDA to care about me, but in recent years I have been loosing faith mostly because I have been living in countries whose governments outlaw certain chemicals and food additives because they find them dangerous to the health of their citizens...oh and guess what a lot of what we consider 'organic' food here is just called plain food there! Read about a partial list of common foods banned in other countries but allowed in the US
Carrageenan is a is a common food additive that is extracted from a red seaweed
Slight rant aside (this is something I get really passionate about), carrageenan, a derivative of red seaweed and thickener of various organic and non-organic foods, can be harmful to your health. Ok, so is driving my car to and from work everyday can be rather dangerous, so it takes a lot to convince me that something is not good for you (from working in the media industry, I try to play down the hysteria over what is bad for your); however, there is a decade of research done by doctors and plenty of results on the effects carrageenan can have on the intestinal system. It doesn't help that I was having dinner with a lady at the Magic Castle last year who relayed a story about her extreme intestinal surgery she had done which she contributed to soy beans and soy milk...flash forward a couple of months later and my sister's co-actor in a play endured a similar surgery related to soy as well. I don't take them as coincidence when something like this starts effecting people I know. What's worse is I eat and drink a lot of carrageenan products - a lot! What's even worse is when you think this can't possibly be in my organic, non-GMO, SILK vanilla soy milk, your find out it is!! The inner screams ensue and you go on a hunt for a replacement at the nearest Wholefoods only to be really disappointed and worried when all the soy milk products offered have this nasty carrageenan in it!!
So back to the drawing board...cannot be that bad right if all of Wholefoods soy milk products have it in there can it? Wrong, companies like Organic Valley say they are going to find a way to remove carrageenan from their products while Eden Foods looks like they are committing to their "Creation and Maintenance of purity in food" and are pledging to remove carrageenan all together. On the other hand WhiteWave, owners of the popular and delicious products like Silk Soy Milk have considered that the trace amounts found in their products won't harm anyone, but by that logic I guess one pellet of rat poison in the well won't hurt no one either (don't worry I plan on calling and politely letting them know my dismay). In the meantime, sign the petition spearheaded by an organic watch-dog group Cornucopia Institute. They have also been nice enough to provide a list of different food groups and products that have and don't have Carrageenan in it.
I took the liberty to find a vanilla soy milk up to my high standards of non-gmo, organic and carrageenan-free and it looks like I have to find/order online EdenSoy Organic Vanilla Soymilk, Soy Dream Classic Vanilla Soymilk, or Tofu Shop Vanilla Soy Milk.