Nano risk assessment, a work in progress

Wednesday 2 June 2010

The risk assessment framework for nanotechnology in Europe – like so much else connected to the technology – appears to be in its infancy but developing at a rapid pace.

In its opinion issued in Spring last year, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) sought to lay down an overarching system to use as a risk assessment framework for nanotechnology – but was clear that much currently remains unknown about nanomaterials and how they behave in food and packaging.

A further guidance document, the first draft of which is due to be published next month, is intended to fill in some of those gaps with practical advice.

But such nano knowledge gaps have led some to call for a ban on the use of nanomaterials in food products until their safety has been fully established. One area of concern is whether nanoparticles can migrate from packaging materials into foods.

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