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A group of related carbohydrates produced naturally by boiling red seaweed. Three types of carrageenan are extracted from seaweed, which are Kappa, Iota and Lambda, each with distinct properties to assist with the processing and development of food products. Most often, carrageenans are utilized as: 1) emulsifiers, keeping liquids mixed together so they do not separate such as salad dressings; 2) as stabilizers to assist with the keeping foods in a solid or non-crystallized state; and 3)as thickening agents for a variety of food items such as milk, ice cream, puddings, syrups, marshmallow fluff, and other food items. Carrageenans are also used for many consumer goods items that are unrelated to food, such as toothpaste, shoe polish and air fresheners.
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