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February 6, 2015

EFSA Scientific Network of Risk Assessment of Nanotechnologies in Food and Feed Publishes 2014 Annual Report

Lynn L. Bergeson

On February 16, 2015, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published the 2014 annual report of the EFSA Scientific Network of Risk Assessment of Nanotechnologies in Food and Feed, which is intended to inform the public and the EFSA Advisory Forum about the Network’s specific activities and achievements.  EFSA states that, during 2014, the Network followed-up on its priority areas and contributed to making inventories of applications of nanomaterials already present in the food/feed chain.  According to EFSA, during its 2014 meeting, the Network dedicated most of its discussions to relevant research results for possible toxic effects following the oral route of exposure.  EFSA’s summary states that a “new issue of concern is that absorption is not linear with dose:  high dose studies are often used for tox testing for estimation of safe dose, while the high dose may result in aggregation, agglomeration, gelation and as a consequence dose-dependent absorption.”  According to the summary, challenges also remain concerning the technical aspects for considering a material as a nanomaterial for the regulatory purpose of food labeling.  The summary states that the NanoDefine project (FP7) is expected to deliver by 2017 an implementable test-scheme for regulatory purposes to distinguish nano from non-nano.  Finally, EFSA states, “[t]he Network agreed that regardless the current challenges and regardless the % of nanoforms in the bulk material (particle size% or mass%), EFSA should assess the nano-fraction, no matter how small.”