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Nanotechnology in Food: In the Absence of Regulations, Nonprofit Releases New Framework for Companies to Evaluate Safety

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Food Safety Resource Center page and our Nanotechnology & Synthetic Biology page.
SAN FRANCISCO -- A first-of-its-kind framework released today offers recommendations to food and food packaging companies on how to identify and evaluate nanomaterials in products. Not only is this technology unregulated and untested for its implications on public health but companies may not even be aware if they are using products made with nanomaterials.

The Sourcing Framework for Food and Food Packaging Products Containing Nanomaterials presents what companies should ask their suppliers regarding the safety of products containing nanomaterials, therefore allowing businesses to make more informed decisions.

Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating matter at the molecular scale to build structures, tools, or products. This emerging science offers many new opportunities for food industry applications, such as nutritional additives, stronger flavorings and colorings, or antibacterial ingredients for food packaging. However, these same properties have also raised safety concerns yet to be fully understood.

"Currently, most food companies do not have processes in place to identify if there are nanomaterials in their products, or to confirm the safety of those products," said Amy Galland, Research Director of As You Sow and co-author of the Framework. "We are urging the food industry to utilize the precautionary principle and stay ahead of the regulatory curve on this issue.

"In consultation with food companies such as: Kraft, McDonald's (which has adopted a "no nano" policy), Whole Foods, Yum! Brands, and Pepsi, the nonprofit organization As You Sow developed this practical tool which clearly outlines what companies should ask their suppliers regarding the safety of products containing nanomaterials.