The following framework provides guidelines for food and food packaging companies to assess exposure to and potential risks from sourcing products that contain nanomaterials. Nanomaterials offer many new opportunities for food industry applications, such as nutritional additives, stronger flavorings and colorings, or antibacterial ingredients for food packaging. However, their unique properties have raised scientific concerns about their impact on human health and the environment. As food and food packaging companies explore the use of nanomaterials to enhance products, they need also attend to potential risks introduced.
This framework presents tiered recommendations of steps companies should take and information they should obtain from their suppliers regarding the safety testing of nanomaterials and products containing nanomaterials. Until there are firm regulatory requirements and/or a central repository for safety data on nanomaterials, information requested in this framework should be provided to food and food packaging companies by their suppliers.
Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating matter at the molecular scale to build structures, tools, or products, known as nanomaterials. Nanomaterials addressed in this framework are those whose small scale imparts unique physical properties. The risks and benefits of this emerging technology are still being discovered, yet the development, use, and manufacturing of nanomaterials are being conducted with little transparency and inadequate regulatory oversight. This is particularly concerning to the food industry where human exposure is virtually guaranteed. The food industry is reported to be extensively researching and developing the use of nanomaterials, however there is little known