International Standards for Trade in Nano-coated Produce?

Steve Suppan

Nanotechnology-based food and health products and food packaging materials are available to consumers in some countries already, and additional products and applications are currently in the research and development stage, and some may reach the market soon.

… According to the WHO/FAO expert panel, it is “progress” that agri-nanotechnology products are on the market and that more products are on their way to commercialization … In the meantime, is it “progress” that agri-nanotechnology products are in the marketplace without any regulation?

… Food nanocoatings are just one of several food packaging applications of nanotechnology in research and development. As of 2008, about 50 kinds of biopolymers had been electronically spun into nanofibers that can be woven into “mats” with properties of great interest to the food packaging and processing industries. Nanofibers will, in theory, prevent other ENMs from passing through the biopolymer to penetrate the packaged food. Food processors believe that coating food production belts with nano-silicon dioxide will prevent bacteria from adhering to food production machinery, reducing the likelihood of food contamination and the cost of cleaning the machinery.

… Whether or how these nanocoatings might migrate o the packages and onto food or into human bodies, however, is not yet known.

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