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Carrageenan is derived from red seaweed and is used in human food products and in pet wet food as a thickener, stabiliser and emulsifier.

There are 2 types of carrageenan; degraded (aka poligeenan) and undegraded.

Degraded carrageenan is not approved for use in human food while undegraded carrageenan is approved for use in human food. However, the European Union (EU) has banned carrageenan in infant food.

Carrageenan has no nutritional value serving a technical and aesthetic role in pet food production.


In pet food labels, carrageenan is identified as ‘vegetable gum (407)’, ‘carrageenan gum’, or ‘vegetable gum (carrageenan)” or by its E number E-407 and E-407a.

It is also spelled as Carageenan, Carrageenen, and Carrigeenin. Carrageenan also be part of ingredients under the category of “thickening agent” or “gelling agent”

Concerns in pet food

Carrageenan can cause stomach and intestinal inflammation and possible cancer in cats and dogs. However, there are also reports suggesting that it is completely safe.

The possibility of carrageenan to cause inflammation and cancer makes it a concern to the following categories of animals:

  • Young animals; kittens and puppies
  • Cats and dogs with sensitive stomach
  • Cats and dogs cancer patients and survivors
  • Fiv and felv positive cats

Gold-D policy on Carrageenan

Although carrageenan is a permitted addictive, we are concerned about the issues of inflammation and cancer. In the case of cancer, it is very expensive and challenging to treat and in many cases fatal.

While, there are reports suggesting it is safe, its prohibition by EU for infant use suggests high risk for animals as well. Finally, it does not serve any nutritional value so the risk is unnecessary.

It is not easy to produce carrageenan free wet food but we feel it is worth the extra effort and cost.  

As such, our policy is to exclude carrageenan from all Gold-D products.


Some pets may not like to change food. For transition to carrageenan free food, you may need to blend the new food slowly into the existing food and increase the proportion over time.

It may need some effort but the health benefit is definitely worth it.

molecular structures of carrageenan

Cat food with carrageenan
(You cannot identify carrageenan visually)

Cat food without carrageenan
Mandarin, our rescue cat developed cancer
Rahula, our FIV & Felv+ rescue cat
Gold-D: carrageenan free cat food

Gold-D, our adopted FIV+ can who founded Gold-D brand with Ken Ken

Back to concerns page  


Carrageenan in Pet Food. January 06, 2015

Dogs naturally magazine: Carrageenan Just Don’t Do It

Dogs naturally magazine: Cancer Causing Carrageenan In Pet Food

Conscious cat: Carrageenan: Should It Be In Your Cat’s Food? June 08, 2012

Review of harmful gastrointestinal effects of carrageenan in animal experiments. Environ Health Perspect. 2001 Oct; 109(10): 983–994.

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