Report urges industry to stay ahead of nanotech regulation

By Caroline Scott-Thomas

- Last updated on GMT

Report urges industry to stay ahead of nanotech regulation
Food companies should aim to stay ahead of regulation to ensure the safety of foods that use nanotechnology, urges a new report from As You Sow, a non-profit organization that aims to increase corporate accountability.

Nanotechnology refers to controlling matter at an atomic or molecular scale measured in nanometers, or millionths of millimeters. In the food industry, the technology has a variety of uses including detecting bacteria in packaging, producing stronger flavors and colorings, or better delivery of micronutrients.

The report​, Sourcing Framework for Food and Food Packaging Products Containing Nanomaterials​, claims that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not doing enough to regulate nanotechnology, and that there is not enough knowledge about how nanoparticles could impact human health or the environment.

Research director of As You Sow and co-author of the report Amy Galland said: “We are urging the food industry to utilize the precautionary principle and stay ahead of the regulatory curve on this issue.”

The organization said food companies should ask suppliers to disclose whether nanomaterials have been used in products, and if so, to provide safety assessment information.

“Companies looking to purchase or sell nanofood products or packaging have to take specific steps to protect themselves from financial and reputation risk through a thorough evaluation of the safety of these products and transparency to address any consumer concerns,” ​the report said.

The FDA has repeatedly said that it already has the tools and authority to deal with nanotechnology in food ingredients and food contact materials, and has stressed that the issue is not necessarily about size, but rather about whether properties are changed when working with a particular substance on the nano scale.

In June this year, the agency issued draft guidance​ for industry on nanotechnology, saying it was a “first step toward providing regulatory clarity on FDA’s approach to nanotechnology”.

“In the absence of federal regulations, corporations need to evaluate the risks and benefits of sourcing products that use this new technology on their own,”​ said Michael Passoff, senior strategist of As You Sow and co-author of the report.

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1 comment

Nano-food dangers

Posted by Concerned for the future of humans on this planet,

Two points to make.....if nanosizing a molecule makes it have different properties, then by the rules of nomenclature it should have a different name..different species/different name... With a different name, it shouldn't qualify as GRAS just because it is derived from a GRAS item. Poppy seeds are GRAS, Heroin is not. Heroin is not called Poppy seeds is it? Why haven't the lawyers caught this?
Second point, biochemists know that if humans didn't evolve with it, they haven't evolved the enzymes and body systems to get rid of it. Nano particles will get into our organs and cells and accumulate and cause damage. Period. They will not be benign. Trans fats were invented by humans in a chemistry lab, and we've found we have no enzymes to clear them from our systems, so they've been removed from our food after 30 years. (It took us 30 years because we're so smart and our industry always does the right thing. Eh?)
"Industry" is not made up of biochemists, and only biochemists know nano-particles in our food is only a matter of time before we start to see dire consequenses which can not be reversed, or cured. In this case, waiting until there is a problem, using people as guinea pigs is not an ethical thing to do, and there are many out there who know this is not good.
Nanoparticles would be the perfect weapon for Al Queda, our government couldn't care less about it and doesn't even require labeling, so we couldn't avoid it if we wanted to. It makes our food smoother and tastier so we want to eat more. It's like putting antifreeze in a dogs food. They gladly take part in their own demise.
This is sick that our government won't come to our rescue.

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