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Food packaging materials must comply with the provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA). Nanopackaging for the most part involves the use of materials that are not intended to have any effect on the food in the package, but may contact the food if the material migrates from the packaging. Such materials are regulated as indirect food additives or food contact substances. There are precedents that permit the marketing of indirect food additives without the need for clearance, and there is a regulatory process in place to review additives that require approval. The critical question in the food packaging area, as in every regulated industry, is whether existing precedents and process will be sufficient to address any issues that arise as the application of nanotechnology matures.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Pollution Prevention and Toxics Advisory Committee (NPPTAC) forwarded to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson on November 22, 2005, its document entitled Overview of Issues for Consideration by NPPTAC. The Overview of Issues document sets forth NPPTAC’s “analysis and views” on a framework for a voluntary program on existing engineered nanoscale materials. The framework is intended to complement the new nanoscale chemicals requirements promulgated under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
In November 2005, the National Pollution Prevention and Toxics Advisory Committee (NPPTAC) forwarded to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Johnson its document entitled Overview of Issues for Consideration by NPPTAC. The Overview of Issues document sets forth the NPPTAC’s analysis and views on a framework for an approach to a voluntary program for existing engineered nanoscale materials. The framework is intended to complement the approach to the new nanoscale chemicals requirement under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and is a must read for those wishing to stay abreast of nano developments.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) technology is revolutionizing the business of tracking inventory and, soon, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will use it to combat counterfeit drugs. The challenges of RFID adoption, in turn, might act as an additional impetus to the development of nanotechnology solutions. FDA views RFID as the most promising technology to combat the flow of counterfeit drugs to U.S. consumers, and encourages the adoption of RFID by manufacturers and distributors.
In June 2005, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report critical of the federal government’s ability under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to assess and prevent risks from new and existing chemical substances. Release of the GAO report coincided with the introduction by Senators Frank Lautenberg and James Jeffords of the Kid Safe Chemicals Act (S. 1391), a bill intended to improve children’s health by reducing exposure to harmful toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products and otherwise address the deficiencies in TSCA outlined in the report. This column reviews the GAO report, the proposed Kid Safe Chemicals Act, and the outlook for both.
In a May 10, 2005, Federal Register notice, EPA announced, in an understated way, its decision to convene a public meeting on 'nanoscale materials.' The meeting notice represents the Agency's first public foray into harnessing some of nanotechnology’s promise within a regulatory framework created almost three decades ago with the enactment of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).