Reply to the Comment on “Revisiting the carrageenan controversy: do we really understand the digestive fate and safety of carrageenan in our foods?” by M. Weiner and J. McKim, Food Funct., 2019, 10: DOI: 10.1039/C8FO01282B
This commentary re-emphasizes the aim of our recent review (David et al., 2018) and addresses some of the points raised in the adjacent commentary by M. Weiner and J. McKim, Food Funct., 2019, 10, DOI: 10.1039/C8FO01282B. In agreement with the commentary, the discussed review highlights the need to adequately understand the complex physicochemistry of the food additive carrageenan (CGN) and its fate in the alimentary canal. In fact, there is a realm of scientific findings that justify the continuation of an open discussion of CGN safety. This response emphasizes that there is sparse information on [i] the physicochemical properties of commercial CGN, [ii] human levels of exposure to CGN from foods, [iii] the role of CGN in gut microbiome dysbiosis and inflammation, and [iv] the effects of CGN on susceptible populations. As long as the determinants of the increased prevalence of chronic and autoimmune diseases are not identified, we must continue to explore the possible beneficial or deleterious effects that may arise from extrinsic factors, including food additives, and do so in meticulous independent studies.