Carageenan in MacDonalds products

I have heard that McDonalds uses carageenan in virtually all their food products. I have also heard that their their milkshakes were not allowed to be called milkshakes for a period of time. McDonalds went to court to get carageenan classified as a non food product so that they could call it a milkshake. Now carageenan is found unlabelled in many food products. Is it true that this products causes cancer and is now found in tons of our food products because of McDonalds court actions?

Carrageenan is seaweed extract, and completely harmless. So, the answers to your questions are:no, no, no, no, and no.

I know carageenan is derived from seaweed and is used as a thickener in a variety of foods, so its use in milkshakes, or other prepackaged foods, does not surprise me.

Carrageenan is just an extract of seaweed. Plenty of people eat seaweed on a frequent basis without any apparent ill effects. If you check this page you’ll see it’s only in a couple of non-dairy items - why would they list it in some non-desserts but not all if they were really secretly putting it in everything?

According to references at this link there are some animal studies that show some gastrointestinal cancer links to high doses of a product made from carrageenan, not carrageenan itself. Also, one has to be wary of extrapolating animal studies to humans - there have been many drugs/substances which are problematic in certain animals but not in humans, and vice versa.

Damn my not previewing - from silenus’ link I see this has been discredited. Anyway, it’s still worth noting that it wasn’t even referring to carrageenan anyway.

Carageenan is a pretty basic extract of seaweed, just as AgarAgar or Kanten is. They are no more dangerous than going out and getting the correct species of seaweed and working with them.

As to the issue of McD’s getting carageenan declared a nonfood, if they did, they wouldnt be allowed to put it IN food. The USDA has no discernable sense of humor when it comes to what goes into food. Carageenan was found in lots of food products long before McD had fun with milkshakes.

Snopes take on the whole matter is pretty clear. I find it very helpful to check out snopes for information that people are passing around.

It is also used as a fining agent (Irish moss) in beer and wine by those people who aren’t careful enough or patient enough to do it right. :smiley:

Hey, I resent that… looks around (Oh, never mind, you weren’t talking to me personally. OK, so I resemble that remark, when I bother to clarify my beer at all.)

Here’s the answer from the master himself:

Do McDonald’s milkshakes contain seaweed?


That’s what they said about Soylent Green! :eek:

Interestingly, there is no legal definition of a milkshake. Trust me, I’ve poured over the CFR to find one. There’s another one to write your congressman about!

Lou: Well, at McDonald’s you can buy a Krusty Burger with cheese, right? But they don’t call it a Krusty Burger with cheese.
Wiggum: Get out! Well, what do they call it?
Lou: A Quarter Pounder with cheese.
Wiggum: Quarter Pounder with cheese? Well, I can picture the cheese, but, uh, do they have Krusty partially gelatinated non-dairy gum-based beverages?
Lou: Mm-hm. They call ‘em, “shakes.”
Eddie: Huh, shakes. You don’t know what you’re gettin’.