The latest battle between sound science and junk science just played out at the USDA’s National Organics Standards Board. The target was carrageenan, and sound science lost.

The National Organic Standards Board bowed to activist pressure and dubious science today and voted to remove carrageenan from the National List of ingredients approved for use in organic products. Despite agreeing with decades of science proving carrageenan is safe, the Board has set a dangerous precedent. The Board’s recommendation would make it difficult for organic food products to compete with non-organic products on sensory attributes such as taste and texture. And this outcome may lead to consumers deselecting organic foods altogether, which runs counter to the National Organic Program’s mission.

There is no legitimate rationale for de-listing carrageenan. The fight is not over. We will focus on convincing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to reverse this decision and ensure scientific rigor remain in the regulatory review and decision-making process in Washington, D.C.

What separates sound science from junk science is the quality of the science itself. Yet too often these days, the integrity of scientific studies that follow Good Laboratory Practices (GLP), the standard management system that guides the actions of government and the scientific community is being challenged. And when it comes to something as essential as the quality and safety of America’s food supply, this creates the potential for confusion, fear and misguided decision making. This must stop.


Carrageenan. You may not have heard of it, but this natural seaweed has been safely consumed worldwide for centuries. From ice cream and baby formula to other everyday food products, it is nature’s perfect stabilizing ingredient, reducing the need for costlier, synthetic additives.

Despite hundreds of years of safe consumption and overwhelming evidence of its safety and efficacy, carrageenan’s status as an ingredient approved by the USDA for use in organic foods is at risk. The threat is primarily motivated by economics; opponents seek to narrow and restrict its use in order to protect their own market share, and they are using “junk science” scare tactics to do so. Without your help, we run the risk of depriving organic food consumers of an ingredient that is safe, effective, and essential.


      • USDA-approved for use in organic foods for more than a decade.
      • Determined to be safe by the World Health Organization and by regulatory agencies in the United States, Europe, Japan, Brazil and other countries.
      • Naturally occurring red seaweed safely consumed for hundreds of years.
      • An essential ingredient used in ice cream, baby formula, and other everyday foods.
      • Cheaper and more effective than synthetic additives.
      • Non-GMO, gluten free, and fat free.
      • Safe for vegan, vegetarian, kosher, and Halal diets.
      • It binds tightly to protein, it is excreted, and it cannot get into the bloodstream when used in food.
      • Remarkable stability and shelf life make it a weapon in the fight against world hunger.


United 4 Food Science brings together scientists, academics, nutritionists, toxicologists, and experts in agriculture and food production to ensure that sound, proven science is a key factor in the regulatory review and decision-making process in Washington, D.C. This effort is led by Susan Finn, PhD, RDN, a recognized leader and respected communicator in food, nutrition and health.


William R. Blakemore, F.R.S.C. (retired), Celtic Colloids • CARGILL • Center for Medicine in the Public Interest • Roger A. Clemens, DrPH, Adjunct Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Associate Director, Regulatory Science Program, USC School of Pharmacy • Council for Responsible Nutrition • Nina V. Federoff, Ph. D., former President, American Academy for the Advancement of Science • FMC Corporation • Ingredients Solutions, INC.  International Dairy Foods Association • International Food Additives Council • Ken Lee, PhD, Professor of Food Science and Technology, Director of Ohio State University Food Innovation Center • Marinalg InternationalJames M. McKim, Ph.D. IONTOX, LLC • Catharine H. Powers, MS, RDN, partner, Culinary Nutrition Associates, LLC • Shemberg Corp. • TBK Manufacturing Corporation • Myra L. Weiner, Ph.D, D.A.B.T., Fellow, A.T.S., Principal, TOXpertise, LLC • W Hydrocolloids, Inc. / RICO Carrageenan

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