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June 26, 2008

PEN and GMA Review Regulatory Process for Nanomaterials in Food Packaging

Lynn L. Bergeson

On June 25, 2008, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) released a report entitled Assuring the Safety of Nanomaterials in Food Packaging: The Regulatory Process and Key Issues, which concludes that engineered nanoscale materials use in food packaging materials raise new safety evaluation challenges for regulators and industry. The report uses hypothetical food packaging applications to examine how the regulatory process would apply to nanotech food packaging materials and to identify issues that should be addressed to ensure the process works effectively. According to the report, the unique focus of its dialogue among experts and stakeholders from government, industry, and the public interest community was “upstream” — on products that have not yet been commercialized, but which contain features of products that would likely move from development into the marketplace.