The New Threat to FoodJanuary 13, 2013
Following on from genetic engineering, nanotechnology represents the latest high technology attempt to infiltrate our food supply. Senior scientists have warned that nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the scale of atoms and molecules, introduces serious new risks to human and environmental health. Yet in the absence of public debate, or oversight from regulators, unlabelled foods manufactured using nanotechnology have begun to appear on our supermarket shelves.
How will nanotechnology be used for food production and processing?
Industry analysts and proponents predict that nanotechnology will be used to transform food from the atom up: “Thanks to nanotechnology, tomorrow’s food will be designed by shaping molecules and atoms. Food will be wrapped in “smart” safety packaging that can detect spoilage or harmful contaminants. Future products will enhance and adjust their color, flavor, or nutrient content to accommodate each consumer’s taste or health needs. And in agriculture, nanotechnology promises to reduce pesticide use, improve plant and animal breeding, and create new nano-bioindustrial products” – or so states the US Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies’ recent report on the use of nanotechnology in food and agriculture (available at http://www.nanotechproject.org).