Food Additives

Carrageenan, processed Eucheuma seaweed, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose and agar -- effects on the gastrointestinal tract

Ordered:

Report no:

Publishing: 11.12.2023

Key mesage:

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) will map research on the effects of the food additives carrageenan (E407), processed Eucheuma seaweed (E 407a), sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (E 466) and agar (E 406) on the gastrointestinal tract.

This scoping review is commissioned by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

These additives belong to the group of emulsifiers, stabilisers, and thickeners (EST), which all are additives that can affect the consistency of food in several different ways.

Background

Following the publication of studies showing that certain ESTs may have potential negative effects on the gastrointestinal tract, concern has been expressed over the use of some of these additives. Some Norwegian food manufacturers have reduced the use of carrageenan and replaced it with agar.

Assignment

This scoping review is carried out on behalf of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, which has requested VKM to:

1. Map various studies’ hypotheses about which effects carrageenan, processed Eucheuma seaweed, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose and agar may have on the gastrointestinal tract.

2. Map the variants of the substances which have been used in the studies, and include:

whether the substances examined are approved as additives, and whether the test substance was administrated as a pure substance or in food.

an overview of the amounts that have been tested.

an overview of the effects on the digestive tract that have been studied.

3. Assess the risk of bias in studies addressing effects on the gastrointestinal tract from carrageenan, processed Eucheuma seaweed, sodium carboxymethyl cellulose and agar.

Project group

The members of the project group are all members of VKM’s Panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics:

Eva Denison, the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics (Chair?

Monica Andreassen,the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.

Ellen Bruzell, the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.

Monica Carlsen, the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.

Tove Devold, the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.

Naouale El Yamani, the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.

Berit Granum, the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.

Trine Husøy, the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.

Camilla Svendsen, the panel on Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics.

Gro Mathisen, VKM Secretariat (Project manager)

Members of the Panel for Food Additives, Flavourings, Processing Aids, Materials in Contact with Food, and Cosmetics will assess and approve the scoping review. The review is due to be published in November 2023.

Contact

Gro Mathisen

Project manager, PhD

T: +47 21 62 28 06
Send e-mail

The Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment

T: 21 62 28 00
vkm@vkm.no

P.O. Box 222 Skøyen
0213 Oslo

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