In comments submitted last Friday, IDFA supported the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule to relist four ingredients, commonly used in dairy products, on the list of allowable substances in organic foods. The ingredients are agar, carrageenan, cellulose and animal enzymes, including rennet used to make cheese.

Although these ingredients have been approved for years, the use of carrageenan in both organic and non-organic foods recently has been called into question by activists and some in the media.

Carrageenan is a natural food additive derived from seaweed, and IDFA believes the opposition is based on a misunderstanding of scientific facts.

The Food and Drug Administration, which has federal food safety responsibility for ingredients, has reviewed carrageenan several times over the past decades. The agency has repeatedly concluded that carrageenan is a completely safe food additive.

“IDFA has worked closely with FDA for decades on numerous food safety and food defense issues and we have the utmost respect for FDA and its science-based conclusions,” the comments said. “USDA has made the proper determination by recognizing FDA’s authority and deferring to its opinion.”

The relisting of carrageenan by USDA would allow it to continue to be used as a thickener, stabilizer and texturizer in organic foods, such as cream, flavored milk, yogurt and ice cream.

For more information, contact Clay Detlefsen, IDFA vice president of regulatory affairs, at