United States FDA Confirms Safety of Carrageenan As Food Ingredient

ATLANTA, Georgia, USA, December 14, 2012 – In response to a 2008 citizens petition from Joanne K. Tobacman, M.D., the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Department of Health and Human Services has concluded that the alleged claims made by Dr. Tobacman do not adequately support the revocation of 21 CFR 172.620, permitting the use of carrageenan for direct addition to food. Although the response was issued in June 2012, FDA’s letter was only made readily available to the public on November 29, 2012.

CP Kelco, a world-leading carrageenan and food ingredient producer, commends the research and response by the FDA in validating the safety of the ingredient. “CP Kelco, as now re-confirmed by the US government, has always believed in the safety, function and acceptance of carrageenan for use in food, beverages, toothpastes, pet foods, other applications; and 150 years of safe use as a food additive,” says Klaus Bjerrum, Carrageenan Product Category Director for CP Kelco.

In the response document, the FDA references several studies that contradict allegations from Dr. Tobacman that carrageenan is unsafe in food, and further concludes that the data in the studies referenced by Dr. Tobacman are not relevant “to exposure from human consumption of food containing the direct food additives in question.”

“As a leader in the food ingredient industry, we strive to stay at the forefront of health, safety and regulatory activities. We applaud the response of the FDA, and support their conclusions. Our goal is to ensure our customers and consumers have the most reliable information available to make educated and safe purchase choices,” quotes Charles Bowman, Vice President, CP Kelco Marketing.

As a testament to our dedication to Food Safety and the safe use of our products, CP Kelco recently announced that all manufacturing facilities have been audited and have met the requirements for Food Safety System Certification (FSSC 22000), which meets the requirements of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). This certification enables suppliers to assure customers that food and the ingredients used have been produced, processed, prepared and handled according to the highest possible standards, at all levels of the supply chain. Food safety applies to all foods and all manufacturing, processing, packaging and storage facilities.


CP Kelco is a leading global manufacturer and marketer of specialty hydrocolloids, with facilities in Europe, North America, Asia and Latin America. Owned by J.M. Huber Corporation, CP Kelco’s product lines include pectin, xanthan gum, carrageenan, cellulose gum, gellan gum, diutan gum, and other novel biopolymers, marketed under brand names including CEKOL®, FINNFIX®, GENU®, GENUGEL®, GENUVISCO®, GENULACTA®, KELTROL®, KELZAN®, KELCOGEL®, SLENDID®, SIMPLESSE® and XANTURAL®

See the PDF of the press release here.