An Outline Framework for the Governance for Risks of Nanotechnologies in Food
Despite some negative consumer perception of nanotechnologies for food applications, certain food and food packaging applications have a potential for the future. Many questions have, however, arisen in regard to the possible toxicological impacts of nanomaterials on human health and the environment. Thus, an appropriate risk governance framework for the use of engineered nanomaterials in food and food packaging is needed. Such a framework should facilitate the realisation of the new technologies in a sustainable manner, while at the same time avoid potential risks to consumers and the environment. This chapter discusses the important guiding principles for such a framework, including those derived from the precautionary principle, life cycle thinking, and stakeholder involvement, and outlines the components of a harmonised risk governance approach in the food sector. These include an increased emphasis on safety research and a review of the existing statutory provisions and incentive instruments. As regulatory measures have to be backed by a consequent perception of corporate responsibility and product stewardship on the part of the producers, risk minimisation measures need to be introduced at the R&D stage. Moreover, the need for an utmost transparency in risk regulation and risk communication provided by participatory processes is highlighted. The chapter suggests that the participatory processes must systematically explore and analyse more complex effects that may arise in practice in tandem with the development of nanotechnology applications in the food sector.