Potential Risks of Nanofood to Consumers
The field of nanotechnologies is rapidly developing and applications can be found throughout the entire food production chain. This is expected to lead to many new products with new and exciting features that are not feasible using conventional production processes. Although the obvious beneficial effects of the application of nanotechnologies are well recognized, the potential human and environmental impacts of engineered nanomaterials have so far received little attention. As nanotechnologies are likely to be used in food production more and more in the future, this raises the question of consumer exposure to nanofood. This chapter presents a review of scientific issues that need to be addressed in order to perform a robust safety assessment of the use of nanotechnologies in food production. One of the main issues to be addressed includes development of validated analytical tools for characterisation of nanomaterials in food. This is essentially needed to enable assessment of consumer exposure. Furthermore, fundamental knowledge on the biokinetics and interaction of nanomaterials at both organism and cellular levels needs to be generated. Only with this knowledge can a reliable assessment of the potential hazards be made. Integrating this knowledge in the established risk analysis paradigm is a prerequisite for the sustainable development of nano foods, which will also need consumer acceptance of the new applications in food production.