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April 20, 2023

FAO and WHO Issue Publication on Food-Safety Aspects of Cell-Based Food

By Lynn L. Bergeson and Carla N. Hutton   On April 5, 2023, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report on the food safety aspects of cell-based food, which is animal agricultural products grown directly from cell cultures. FAO, in collaboration with WHO, developed the report to engage with respective members and relevant stakeholders “by proactively sharing the current knowledge to identify concrete...
January 14, 2022

EC Adopts Ban on Use of Titanium Dioxide (E171) as a Food Additive

The European Commission (EC) announced on January 14, 2022, that it adopted a ban on the use of titanium dioxide (E171) as a food additive. The ban will apply after a six-month transition period, and beginning summer 2022, this additive should no longer be added to food products. According to the EC, titanium dioxide “is used to impart white colour to many foods, from baked goods and sandwich spreads to soups, sauces, salad dressing and food supplements.” The...
December 17, 2021

EC Denies Authorization of Titanium Dioxide (E171) as a Feed Additive for All Animal Species, Requires Products Be Withdrawn from the Market in 2022

The European Commission (EC) published a regulation on November 30, 2021, in the Official Journal of the European Union that denies the authorization of titanium dioxide (E171) as an additive in animal nutrition, in the additive category “sensory additives,” and in the functional group “colourants: substances that add or restore colour in feedingstuffs.” Under the regulation, existing stocks of the additive must be withdrawn from the market by March 20, 2022....
October 19, 2021

ANSES Publishes Health Risk Assessment Guide for Nanomaterials in Food

On October 11, 2021, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) announced the release of a scientific guide to assess the risks posed by nanomaterials in food. According to ANSES, engineered nanomaterials are used in the food sector as: The guide provides a risk assessment methodology for engineered nanomaterials used as food additives and ingredients with a nutritional function. ANSES notes that the European Food Safety Authority...
August 6, 2021

EFSA Updates Guidance on Nanomaterials Risk Assessment to Be Applied in Food and Feed Chain: Human and Animal Health

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has updated its “Guidance on risk assessment of nanomaterials to be applied in the food and feed chain: human and animal health.” The updated guidance, published on August 3, 2021, covers the application areas within EFSA’s remit, including novel foods, food contact materials, food and feed additives, and pesticides. The guidance takes into account relevant scientific studies on physico‐chemical properties, exposure assessment and hazard...
June 7, 2021

ANSES Reiterates Recommendation to Restrict Use of Products Containing Nanomaterials “That Are of Little Benefit to the Population”

On June 3, 2021, the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (ANSES) published an interview with Aurélie Niaudet, who is in charge of assessing the risks associated with physical agents. Niaudet states that nanomaterials have novel properties that “are highly sought after and increasingly exploited, but can also induce specific types of behaviour when interacting with humans or the environment.” After the human body is exposed, “there is then the question...
May 21, 2021

NNI Will Hold Public Webinar on Nanosensors for Food and Agriculture

The U.S. National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) will hold a webinar on June 2, 2021, on nanosensors for food and agriculture. NNI states that nanotechnology-enabled sensors (nanosensors) “are promising tools to advance precision agriculture and support a safe and robust food supply chain, from farm to fork.” Panelists will discuss how the development and deployment of nanosensors could transform agriculture and food safety. They will highlight the state of the science,...
November 24, 2020

EFSA Publishes Environmental Risk Assessment of the Application of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology in the Food and Feed Chain

On November 19, 2020, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a report entitled “Environmental Risk Assessment (ERA) of the application of nanoscience and nanotechnology in the food and feed chain.”  The authors analyzed existing ERA guidance documents for their adequacy to cover issues that are specific for nanomaterials, but note that none of the guidance has a specific focus on the food and feed chain.  Each nanospecific issue was addressed by briefly reviewing the...
July 13, 2020

EFSA Consults on Draft Guidance on Technical Requirements for Regulated Food and Feed Product Applications to Establish the Presence of Small Particles, Including Nanoparticles

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has begun a public consultation on a draft document entitled “EFSA Guidance on Technical Requirements for Regulated Food and Feed Product Applications to Establish the Presence of Small Particles Including Nanoparticles.”  The draft Guidance sets out information requirements for applications in the regulated food and feed product areas and establishes criteria for assessing the presence of a fraction of small particles.  EFSA...
October 8, 2019

EFSA Opens Consultation Period on Two Pilot Assessments on the Risks Caused by Multiple Pesticide Residues in Foods

On September 17, 2019, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) opened a consultation period on two pilot assessments of the risks posed to humans by residues of multiple pesticides in food.  EFSA is seeking comments from interested parties on the assessments.  The first assessment considers the chronic effects of multiple pesticides on the thyroid system.  The second looks at acute effects on the nervous system. EFSA produced the assessments in collaboration with the...
April 10, 2019

Presentations Available from EFSA Stakeholder Workshop on Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) held a stakeholder workshop on April 1-2, 2019, on the implementation of its guidance on the risk assessment of applications of nanosciences and nanotechnologies in the food and feed chain.  As reported in our July 5, 2018, blog item, “EFSA Publishes New Guidance on Nanotechnologies in Food and Feed,” in July 2018, EFSA published new guidance on how to assess the safety of nanoscience and nanotechnology applications. ...
August 5, 2016

President Signs Bill Creating National GMO Food Disclosure Standard

On July 29, 2016, President Obama signed into law Senate Bill 764 (S. 764), creating a national bioengineered food disclosure standard. This law requires companies to provide information on food packaging directing customers to a website or phone line for more information about genetically modified organisms (GMO) that are present in the food product. S. 764 also contains specific language preempting State regulations on "labeling of whether a food (including food served in a restaurant...
February 6, 2015

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

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...
December 12, 2014

EU Requirement to List Engineered Nanomaterials in Food Labeling Will Take Effect December 13

The European Commission (EC) issued a December 11, 2014, press release concerning European Union (EU) food labeling requirements that will take effect December 13, 2014.  The European Parliament and the Council adopted the requirements in 2011.  The requirements are intended to ensure that consumers receive clearer, more comprehensive, and accurate information on food content, and help them make informed choices about what they eat.  Under the requirements, all ingredients present in the...
July 18, 2012

FDA Bill Signed by President Includes Nanotechnology Provision

On July 9, 2012, President Barack Obama signed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (P.L. 112-144). The Act authorizes the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to collect user fees from industry to fund reviews of innovator drugs, medical devices, generic drugs, and biosimilar biologics. It also includes a section concerning nanotechnology, directing the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “intensify and expand activities related to enhancing scientific...
July 3, 2012

FAO/WHO Release Draft Paper on Risk Assessment and Risk Management of Nanotechnologies for Comment

The United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and World Health Organization (WHO) have released a draft paper entitled State of the art on the initiatives and activities relevant to risk assessment and risk management of nanotechnologies in the food and agriculture sectors for comment. FAO and WHO commissioned the paper with the objective of summarizing and analyzing the information that has become available since their 2009 expert meeting and determining possible courses...
April 20, 2012

FDA Releases Draft Guidance Documents on Nanomaterials

On April 20, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the availability of two draft guidance documents addressing the use of nanotechnology, “Guidance for Industry: Assessing the Effects of Significant Manufacturing Process Changes, including Emerging Technologies, on the Safety and Regulatory Status of Food Ingredients and Food Contact Substances, Including Food Ingredients that are Color Additives,” and “Guidance for Industry: Safety of Nanomaterials in...
December 29, 2011

Coalition Sues FDA Over Alleged Risks from Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials

A coalition of nonprofit consumer safety and environmental groups sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on December 21, 2011.  The coalition is led by the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), and includes Friends of the Earth, Food and Water Watch, the Center for Environmental Health, the ETC Group, and the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy. ICTA states that its lawsuit “demands” FDA...
October 11, 2011

Nanotechnology Regulatory Science Act of 2011 Introduced in Senate

On October 6, 2011, Senator Mark L. Pryor (D-AR) introduced the Nanotechnology Regulatory Science Act of 2011 (S. 1662), which is intended to address potential health and safety risks from products that contain nanotechnology materials. The bill would establish a program within the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assess the health and safety implications of using nanotechnology in everyday products and develop best practices for companies using nanotechnology. The legislation would...
August 23, 2011

FDA Regulatory Science Plan Addresses Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released on August 17, 2011, a document entitled Advancing Regulatory Science at FDA: A Strategic Plan. FDA states that its core responsibility is to protect consumers by applying the best possible science to its regulatory activities.  FDA notes that rapid advances in innovative science have provided new technologies to discover, manufacture, and assess novel medical products, and to improve food safety and quality. To keep pace with and use...
August 2, 2011

IATP Criticizes Development of Nanotechnology Products Without Regulatory Oversight

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) issued a June 29, 2011, report entitled Racing Ahead: U.S. Agri-Nanotechnology in the Absence of Regulation, which claims that at least 1,300 products with engineered nanotechnology materials (ENM) have been commercialized, “despite myriad uncertainties about the public health and environmental effects of ENMs.” According to the report, several steps are needed for an operative and mandatory regulatory structure for nanotechnology...
June 1, 2011

OECD Provides Snapshot on Current and Planned Activities on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials

On May 26, 2011, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) posted a document entitled “Current Developments/Activities on the Safety of Manufactured Nanomaterials,” which provides information on the outcomes and developments of the OECD Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN) related to the safety of manufactured nanomaterials. OECD states that the document “provides a snapshot of information on current/planned activities related to the safety of...
May 11, 2011

EFSA Publishes Guidance for Assessing Engineered Nanomaterial Applications in Food and Feed

On May 10, 2011, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a guidance document for the risk assessment of engineered nanomaterial (ENM) applications in food and feed. According to EFSA, the guidance “is the first of its kind to give practical guidance for addressing potential risks arising from applications of nanoscience and nanotechnologies in the food and feed chain.” The guidance covers risk assessments for food and feed applications, including food additives, enzymes,...
April 27, 2011

UK FSA Publishes Report of Consumers’ Views on Nano in Food and Food Packaging

On April 21, 2011, the United Kingdom’s (UK) Food Standards Agency (FSA) published a report of consumers’ views on the use of nanotechnology in food and food packaging. FSA convened a focus group in late 2010 and early 2011, and asked participants about their views on nanotechnology. According to FSA, the main findings are that:...
January 14, 2011

EFSA Begins Public Consultation on Draft Guidance on Risk Assessment for Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies

On January 14, 2011, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) began a public consultation on a draft document entitled “Guidance on Risk Assessment Concerning Potential Risks Arising from Applications of Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies to Food and Feed.” According to EFSA, the draft guidance offers practical guidance for the risk assessment of applications involving the use of nanoscience and nanotechnology in the area of food and feed (including food additives, enzymes, flavorings, food...
October 7, 2010

NIH and FDA Will Fund Research on Nanoparticles

In a September 27, 2010, press release, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced that it will award $9.4 million over three years to support four research projects in regulatory science.  NIH will make the awards in partnership with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which will contribute approximately $950,000.  According to the press release, the projects include research on nanoparticles and their characterization. NIH states that the projects were chosen “because...
August 27, 2010

FDA Will Hold Public Workshop on Medical Devices and Nanotechnology

On September 23, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will hold a public workshop entitled “Medical Devices & Nanotechnology: Manufacturing, Characterization, and Biocompatibility Considerations.” According to FDA, the purpose of the workshop is to obtain information on manufacturing, characterization, and biocompatibility evaluation of medical devices containing or using nanomaterials and nanostructures, including diagnostics. FDA is seeking input on these topics and...
July 26, 2010

Safe Cosmetics Act Would Allow FDA to Require Labeling of Nanomaterials

On July 20, 2010, Representative Janice Schakowsky (D-IL) introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 (H.R. 5786), which would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) “to ensure the safe use of cosmetics.” Under the bill, the Secretary of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would: Regarding cosmetic and ingredient statements, the bill would require manufacturers to submit electronically a statement containing certain information, including “the ingredient list as it...
June 9, 2010

FDA Posts MAPP on Reporting Format for Nanotechnology-Related Information

On June 3, 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) Office of Pharmaceutical Science (OPS) posted on its website a Manual of Policies and Procedures (MAPP) entitled “Reporting Format for Nanotechnology-Related Information in CMC Review.” The purpose of the MAPP is to provide chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) reviewers within OPS with the framework by which relevant information about nanomaterial-containing drugs will now be...
March 12, 2010

FDA Responds to EWG’s Letter Concerning Sunscreen Guidelines

In a March 2, 2010 letter, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded to the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) July 15, 2009, letter concerning sunscreen guidelines. EWG criticized the FDA for not having guidelines for sunscreen safety and efficacy. According to EWG, companies continue to profit by misleading consumers about the protection offered by their products. EWG urged FDA to publish a final rule for its August 2007 draft sunscreen...
March 11, 2010

American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting Includes Presentation on Nanotechnology in Cosmetic Products

During the 68th annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, on March 4, 2010, dermatologist Adnan Nasir, M.D., Ph.D., F.A.A.D., gave a presentation on nanotechnology and how nanoparticles may eventually be used in cosmetic products. According to Dr. Nasir, the cosmetic industry leads all other industries in the number of patents for nanoparticles, which have the potential to enhance sunscreens, shampoos, conditioners, lipsticks, eye shadows, moisturizers, deodorants, after-shave...
June 24, 2009

FDA Spokesperson Says Regulatory Authority Is Sufficient to Address Nanotechnology

According to a June 8, 2009, article, Dr. Annette McCarthy of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition stated on June 6, 2009, at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting that the “regulatory authority is sufficient to address nanotechnology but there are further questions.” McCarthy recommended that petitions to the FDA seeking acceptance of a nanotech food additive or coloring should address its “impact on identity and...
May 1, 2009

PEN Report on Oversight of Next Generation Nanotechnology Recommends New Federal Agency

On April 28, 2009, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) released a report entitled Oversight of Next Generation Nanotechnology, which calls for the creation of the Department of Environmental and Consumer Protection, which would oversee product regulation, pollution control and monitoring, and technology assessment. According to report author J. Clarence Davies, Ph.D., the agency would be primarily a scientific agency with a strong...
March 18, 2009

FDA Assessing Feasibility of Using Nanotechnology Test to Detect Anthrax Following a Bioterrorist Attack

On March 17, 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it has completed a “proof-of-concept” study of a test that “quickly and accurately detects the presence of even the smallest amount of the deadly anthrax toxin.” According to FDA, the proof-of-concept study relies on a nanotechnology-based test platform built from tiny molecular-sized particles. The europium nanoparticle-based immunoassay (ENIA) was able to detect the presence of a protein made by the...
March 12, 2009

FDA Announces Nanotechnology Collaboration

On March 10, 2009, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a collaboration with the Alliance for NanoHealth (ANH) and its members. According to FDA, the collaboration is intended to “help speed development of safe and effective medical products in the emerging field of nanotechnology.” Under a memorandum of understanding, FDA and ANH will work to increase the knowledge of how nanoparticles behave and affect biologic systems, and to facilitate the development of tests and...
March 9, 2009

EFSA Publishes Opinion on the Potential Risks from Nanotechnologies Used on Food and Feed

On March 5, 2009, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a document entitled The Potential Risks Arising from Nanoscience and Nanotechnologies on Food and Feed Safety, which provides its scientific opinion on the potential risks arising from nanoscience and nanotechnologies on food and feed safety. EFSA’s Scientific Committee (SC) concluded that established international approaches to risk assessment can also be applied to engineered nanomaterials (ENM).  The SC...
March 4, 2009

FDA Panel States FDA Wants More Information before Issuing Guidance

During the February 18, 2009, Food and Drug Law Institute’s Second Annual Conference on Nanotechnology Law, Regulation, and Policy, Dr. Jonathan Sackner-Bernstein, Associate Center Director for Post-Market Operations at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), stated that FDA will not issue guidance until companies bring products to them so that FDA can learn more about the effects of nanotechnology. Sackner-Bernstein acknowledged that the...
January 28, 2009

PEN Report Faults FDA Regulation of Nanotechnology-Based Dietary Supplements

On January 14, 2009, the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) released a report entitled A Hard Pill To Swallow: Barriers to Effective FDA Regulation of Nanotechnology-Based Dietary Supplements, which describes problems at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in regulating nano-enabled dietary supplements and offers recommendations for improving oversight. According to the report, FDA’s ability to regulate the safety of such dietary supplements “is severely limited by lack of...
November 13, 2008

EFSA Consults on Draft Opinion on Nanotechnologies and Food and Feed Safety

On October 17, 2008, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) began a public consultation on its draft scientific opinion in relation to nanoscience and nanotechnologies and food and feed safety.  EFSA’s draft opinion focuses on engineered nano materials (ENM) that could be deliberately introduced into the food chain and elaborates on approaches to risk assessment. EFSA states that it “is not an assessment of any specific application of ENM.” According to EFSA,...
November 5, 2008

Consumers Union Petitions FDA to Require Safety Assessment on the Use of Nanoparticles

On October 30, 2008, Consumers Union petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require a full safety assessment on the use of engineered nanoparticles, particularly in cosmetics, sunscreens, and sunblocks, and “to investigate possible enforcement action to ensure accurate labeling as to the presence or absence of nanoparticles.” Consumers Union cites new findings in the December 2008 issue of Consumer Reports, and states that the findings “confirm...
September 12, 2008

FDA Nanotechnology Meeting

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held its publicized Public Meeting on Nanotechnology on Monday, September 8, 2008, near its main offices in Rockville, Maryland. The meeting consisted of a plenary session led by Dr. Norris Alderson, Co-Chair of the FDA Nanotechnology Task Force, followed by separate breakout sessions for prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, food and color additives (including food contact substances), and...
August 21, 2008

Federal Agencies Will Hold Workshop on Enabling Standards for Nanomaterial Characterization

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) will hold an October 8-9, 2008, workshop regarding enabling standards for nanomaterial characterization.  According to the workshop overview, there is an “urgent need” to elevate new protocols and practices for characterizing the physicochemical properties of nanomaterials, and their in vitro and in vivo properties with respect to biological systems, to that of internationally accepted standards to accelerate research,...
August 13, 2008

Researchers Examine Nanomaterials in Food Chain

The August 2008 issue of Environmental Health Perspectives includes an article entitled “Nano-Food Chain Link Examined,” which reports on recent research by the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) regarding whether nanomaterials biomagnify in the food chain. NIST reports that certain nanomaterials may not accumulate in the food chain, but notes that additional research is necessary before any generalizations can be made regarding environmental and human safety of...
August 11, 2008

FDA Announces Public Meeting on Nanoscale Materials

In an August 7, 2008, Federal Register notice, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it will convene a public meeting on September 8, 2008, on FDA-regulated products that may contain nanoscale materials. According to the Federal Register notice, FDA also is seeking public comments and available data “that will assist [FDA] in further implementing the recommendations of the Nanotechnology Task Force Report . . . relating to the...
May 29, 2008

DEFRA Posts Sixth Quarterly Report on the Voluntary Reporting Scheme

On May 19, 2008, the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) posted its sixth quarterly report on the Voluntary Reporting Scheme (VRS) for engineered nanoscale materials. According to the report, DEFRA received no new submissions this quarter, and to date has received only nine submissions since the VRS’s launch in September 2006:  seven from industry, and two from academia. The report states that DEFRA, in partnership with the United Kingdom Technology Strategy Board,...
March 19, 2008

DEFRA Releases Updated VRS Guidance

On March 12, 2008, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) released a supplementary guidance document for the Voluntary Reporting Scheme (VRS). DEFRA prepared the supplementary guidance document to complement the existing VRS guidance. Chapter 2 describes the rationale and benefits of the VRS. Chapter 3 provides a specific list of the relevant physical, chemical, toxicological, and ecotoxicological data to include when reporting under the...
February 13, 2008

EFSA Calls for Data on Applications of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials Used in Food and Feed

On January 23, 2008, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) issued a notice entitled “Call for Scientific Data on Applications of Nanotechnology and Nanomaterials used in Food and Feed.” According to the notice, EFSA is seeking data that could be useful as it prepares an initial scientific opinion for the European Commission (EC) regarding the risks arising from nanoscience and nanotechnologies on food and feed safety and the environment. The EC asked EFSA to identify the nature...
January 22, 2008

Danish Report Finds Nanotechnology Covered by Existing Legislation

According to a report recently released by the Danish Ministry of Health and Prevention, nanotechnology research, development, and applications are covered by existing legislation. The report, which includes an English summary, reviews existing national and international legislation in the areas of foods, medicines, the environment, chemicals, and the working environment in relation to current knowledge of nanotechnological products and processes.  The report also includes a...
January 18, 2008

DEFRA Posts Fifth Quarterly Report on the Voluntary Reporting Scheme

According to the December 22, 2007, fifth quarterly report for the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) Voluntary Reporting Scheme (VRS) for engineered nanoscale materials, DEFRA received no new submissions since publication of the previous quarterly report in September 2007. DEFRA is in the process of updating the VRS documentation to clarify the purpose and aims of the VRS and provide supplementary guidance for anyone submitting data. DEFRA intends...
December 26, 2007

DEFRA Publishes Research Report On Manufactured Nanomaterials

On December 19, 2007, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published a report entitled Characterising the Potential Risks Posed by Engineered Nanoparticles: A Second UK Government Research Report, which follows up on DEFRA’s 2005 report and 2006 progress report. The report reviews the status of research pertaining to the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) issues relating to engineered nanoparticles, and places the United Kingdom’s (UK) research...