Thinking about nanotechnology
I am trying to understand what to think about food nanotechnology and whether it is good, bad, or indifferent. Nanotechnology refers to the use of very small particles for doing any number of things to food. I’ve been collecting items about it:
- A recent review of the use of nanotechnology concluded that it has many possible benefits in improving the nutritional quality of foods.
- Nanotech particles from corn act as antioxidant emulsifiers.
- Nanotech particles enhance the bioavailability of beneficial plant chemicals.
But what about their safety? Could nanoparticles cross cell-membranes and end up being harmful? The technology to produce the particles does not cost much. This means anyone can make and use them, including food manufacturers who don’t want to bother with safety testing. So: is nanotechnology the new asbestos?
If you know something about this, please weigh in. Thanks and happy new year!
Update, January 8: A the U.K. House of Lords Science and Technology committee warns that the lack of transparency in research on nanotechnology is likely to induce a consumer backlash similar to that on genetically modified foods. Indeed.