It seems that there has been a serious misunderstanding happening in the food industry where people think that carrageenan is just the same as the poligeenan. You need to understand that they are both completely different. They are two different entities coming from the same source. They share different terms and different characteristics so they shouldn’t be viewed as the same thing.
Carrageenan and Poligeenan: What to Know
Both the carrageenan and poligeenan come from the same source, the red seaweed, but from different processing and manufacturing methods. Carrageenan is the food grade substance that results from the safe processing. You simply only need to boil the seaweed with a little salt or milk and then you can extract the carrageenan. The poligeenan, on the other hand, is the non-food grade substance resulted from a pretty dangerous processing method. To make poligeenan, you need to add acid and high temperature. That’s why the poligeenan has never been used in the food manufacturing or processing for more than a century.
As you can see, the red seaweed can be manufactured in various different ways and based on the manufacturing process, different results can be expected. If the red seaweed is manufactured in a safe manner without any acid bath, the result is the carrageenan. If the red seaweed is manufactured with the acid bath, the result is poligeenan. So really, carrageenan and poligeenan are completely different entities.
However, people have always mistaken the two because they come from the same source. Moreover, there was a false scientific study around the 2000s claiming that carrageenan was dangerous. They had done studies and experiments about the substance only to find out that it could be lethal. Later on, it was revealed that the subject of the study was actually the poligeenan – not the carrageenan. But the damage has been done and people have developed their own negative opinions about the substance.