New Reports Highlight the Safety of Nanomaterials in Food and Food Contact Substances

An article published this week on Nanowerk highlighted two recently released reports from Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) on the safety of nanoparticles in food.  The first report entitled "Potential Health Risks Associated with Nanotechnologies in Existing Food Additives” examines the safety of nano titanium dioxide (nTiO2), nano amorphous silica (NSiO2) and nano silver (nAg) in food and concludes these materials do not pose significant new or novel health risks compared to their bulk or ionic forms, and their long history of use has yet to give rise to reports of adverse effects. However, in some instances there is currently insufficient information on nanomaterials to support a contemporary risk assessment of these materials and more information is required.

The second report entitled “Nanotechnologies in Food Packaging: an Exploratory Appraisal of Safety and Regulation” examines the safety of nano clay, nano silver and several other nanomaterials (titanium nitride, carbon black, silanated silicon dioxide, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) for use in food packaging. The reviewed data suggests that the migration of nanomaterials into food simulants is negligible and suggests low levels of consumer exposure; however, the report’s conclusions are limited by the relatively few studies identified that examine nanomaterial migration and uncertainties in characterizing and measuring nanomaterials in complex matrices such as food.