Irish Moss

Irish moss (Chondrus crispus) is a small seaplant that looms large in the make-up of many of our favourite foods and useful products. When we consume ice cream, chocolate milk, salad dressings, beer, or use insect sprays, water-based paints, shampoos, toothpaste or cosmetics, we are almost certain to be using carrageenan, a starch-like, non-caloric substance extracted from Irish moss. Irish moss is a perennial plant with many branches near the top. It ranges in colour from yellowish green to brown to reddish purple, and grows attached to rocks to heights of three to seven inches. It is found from the low tide mark to approximately 30 feet of water.

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