The latest news from academia, regulators
research labs and other things of interest
Posted: July 8, 2010
European Environmental Bureau welcomes European Parliament's vote on nanofoods
(Nanowerk News) The European Environmental Bureau, Europe's largest federation of environmental citizens' organisations, welcomes the outcome of yesterday's vote in European Parliament, endorsing strong safety and labelling measures for food containing nanomaterials. This was decided during the second reading of the Novel Foods Regulation.
The European Parliament has demanded mandatory labelling of all products containing nano ingredients and acknowledged that specific methods to test the safety of nanomaterials are needed. Until these methods are available, food containing nanomaterials should not enter the EU market.
Nanotechnologies use very small particles which are measured in the billionths of a metre, and give food and other products novel properties. Due to their small size, nanoparticles have a greater potential to access the human body and enter our cells, tissues and organs.
"The Parliament has made it perfectly clear: nano food cannot be put on our plates until we have the right methods to prove that it is safe." said Louise Duprez, EEB Nanotechnology Policy Officer.
Many expert bodies have warned about the lack of knowledge regarding the risks posed by nanomaterials and say a precautionary approach should be adopted. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has acknowledged that conducting a risk assessment of specific nano products is "subject to a high degree of uncertainty" and questioned the adequacy of existing toxicological test methods.
This cautious approach was already adopted in first reading by Parliament in March 2009. Now it is up to the European Council to review their position on nanotechnologies in food, with the text due to be examined by the Council later this year.