Organic Coffee Creamer without Carrageenan

The other day we received a question from a reader. They were looking for an organic coffee creamer without carrageenan. First of all what is carrageenan?

Edible Seaweed Extract

Carrageenan was used as long ago as 600 BC in China and 400 BC in Ireland as a thickener, gelling agent and to stabilize certain foods, especially dairy products. Most of the seaweed used for industrial scale production of this product today comes from the Philippines. Today carrageenan is used with meat and dairy products because of its strong binding to food proteins. One of the products that might contain carrageenan is your coffee creamer. If you are drinking healthy organic coffee you probably want organic creamer and perhaps organic coffee creamer without carrageenan would be a good idea.

Organic Coffee Creamer without Carrageenan

The Cornucopia Institute published an informative article listing organic dairy products with and without carrageenan. They note that when this ingredient is used as a “processing aid” it will not be listed as an ingredient. The organic coffee creamer without carrageenan they list is Organic Valley.

What’s Wrong with Carrageenan?

The current concern about carrageenan started with a scholarly article published in 2001. A review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments by Dr. J K Tobakman reported intestinal ulcerations and malignancies in animals that consumed carrageenan.

Because of the acknowledged carcinogenic properties of degraded carrageenan in animal models and the cancer-promoting effects of undegraded carrageenan in experimental models, the widespread use of carrageenan in the Western diet should be reconsidered.

Subsequently this subject has been reviewed by various researchers. The bottom line is that it will probably be removed from organic products but not until 2018 as noted by Dr. Axe, Food is Medicine.

Carrageenan is literally everywhere. It is virtually impossible to find a grocery store that doesn’t sell products that include it as an additive. Even the natural food stores are full of it. You can find it in organic yogurt, tofu, coconut milk, baby formula and even in your nitrite-free turkey cold cuts. It has a long and controversial reputation as an emulsifier that damages the digestive system.

Luckily, though, the National Organics Standards Board voted in November 2016 to remove carrageenan from the list of substances allowed in organic food. However, the United States Department of Agriculture has the final say and is scheduled to publish its final rule on this in November 2018, according to Food Safety News.

In the meantime your best bet to find organic coffee creamer without carrageenan is to buy Organic Valley.

Although this product has been around for a long time and has been used extensively in the food industry since the 1930s it has been found to be associated with the following conditions.

  • Large bowel ulceration
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Fetal toxicity & birth defects
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Glucose intolerance and insulin resistance
  • Inflammation
  • Liver cancer
  • Immune suppression
  • Promoting the growth of abnormal colon glands, which are precursors to polyps

All in all this is probably a good thing to avoid. Read the labels on what you buy and if you think it might have been used as a processing aid contact the manufacturer.


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