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March 17, 2008

FOE Releases Report on Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture

Lynn L. Bergeson

A recent report released by Friends of the Earth (FOE) calls for a moratorium “on the further commercial release of food products, food packaging, food contact materials and agrochemicals that contain manufactured nanomaterials until nanotechnology-specific safety laws are established and the public is involved in decision making.” The report, entitled Out of the Laboratory and on to Our Plates:  Nanotechnology in Food & Agriculture, lists 104 commercially available foods, nutritional supplements, food contact materials, and agricultural chemicals identified by FOE that contain manufactured nanomaterials.  According to FOE, due to the “reluctance of food manufacturers to discuss their use of nanotechnology,” this list likely “represents only a small fraction of commercially available products that contain nanomaterials.” FOE states that many more nanofood products are in development, and many of the world’s largest food companies are exploring nanotechnology for food processing and packaging.  Many of the world’s largest agrochemicals and seed companies also have active nanotechnology research and development programs. FOE claims that regulations in the U.S., Europe, and Australia fail to address nanomaterials and calls for nano-specific food regulation to ensure food safety.