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Agar agar

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For use by the human food industry its safety is guaranteed by more than three hundred years of non-interrupted use by some countries and for more than a century on a world scale. In addition the FAO/WHO Codex Alimentarius permits the use of agar in the human food industry and it has also been accepted and authorized by the regulations of the more exacting countries such as United Kingdom, Federal Republic of Germany, Russia, France and Poland. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States assigns agar as a grading of GRAS (Generally Recognised as Safe).

Agar Agar

Agar Agar

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In the human food industry, agar is used mainly as a gelling agent and in a secondary way as a stabilizing agent and for controlling viscosity. It is used as an additive, not as a nutrient. The gelling power of agar is so high that it is used at 1% maximum concentration; for viscosity control and as a stabilizing agent the proportion used is 1/100 or less. For this reason the ingested quantities are very small and, because agar is not easily digested by the human body, its calorie contribution is negligible and thus agar can be used in special diet food. Agar digestion by the human body is imperfect, studies have shown that less than 10% of the polysaccharide is assimilated. Therefore due to the small proportions in which it is used in human food, its importance as a nutrient is very small.

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