Nanotechnologies in Food: What, Why and How?
This first chapter sets the scene for subsequent chapters on various aspects of nanotechnologies in food written by acknowledged experts in their respective fields. It describes and defines the relevant materials, products and applications of nanotechnologies and highlights the distinctive chemical and physical attributes of nanomaterials that make them so attractive for applications in the food sector. This chapter presents an overview of the outlook for the applications of nanotechnologies in food and opens up a discussion on the different issues that have arisen from such applications. It highlights both the anticipated benefits and concerns, emphasizing that public perception and the ultimate acceptance or rejection of nanotech food products hinges on what benefits they may bring, to whom, and whether they may pose a risk to consumers. In this regard, it discusses the question of whether the novel chemical and physical attributes of some nanomaterials may also give rise to hitherto unrecognized health hazards. It also touches on the current frameworks for risk assessment and the regulation of nanotechnologies in food.