market withdrawal of nano products
of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Product-Categories/Cleaning-Safety-Hygiene/Calls-for-market-withdrawal-of-nano-products
By Jane Byrne, 02-Apr-2009
Products containing nanotechnology
which are already on the market should be withdrawn until safety
assessments can be made, claims the European Parliament’s environment
The committee this week adopted a report by Swedish Green MEP Carl
Schlyter which calls for tighter controls on nanotechnology, including the
application of the 'no data, no market' principle contained in the REACH
The committee's decision comes in the wake of last week's vote on
the novel food regulations when MEPs voted for definition, labelling and
specific risk assessments for nano-containing foods.
The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) has welcomed the move by the
environment committee, in particular the fact that it had taken on board
suggestions made by NGOs for an immediate review of existing legislation.
Estimates of the future market for nanotechnology range from €750bn
to €2,000bn by 2015 according to the European Commission, with predictions
for the number of new jobs created by the industry standing at around 10
In the packaging industry, the use of nanoparticles is at a more
advanced stage than it is in food production.
In the form of composite films, wafer-thin nano coatings of
aluminium, for example, or aluminium oxide protect snacks or chocolate bars
packed in them from oxygen, water vapour and flavour substances.
Nanoparticles are also used in polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, to
improve the blocking properties of bottles against oxygen in particular.
And Switzerland’s Centre for Technology Assessment (TA-Swiss)
recently called for the existing legislation on foods and chemicals to be
adapted to meet the demands of nanotechnology.
The Bern-based TA-SWISS, which describes its role as imparting
knowledge that is as independent as possible on the repercussions,
opportunities and risks of new technologies, conducted a study into nano packaging
materials and food additives already in use in Switzerland.
The report, Nanotechnology in the Food Sector, concludes that
in view of the international flows of goods, global or at least Europe-wide
is required in relation to nano-particles in packaging and products.
The project team, led by Martin Möller, a researcher with the
Öko-Institut (Institute for Applied Ecology) in Germany, maintains that the
technology has suffered from a lack of public understanding and consumer
concerns over the safety
of some of its applications.
They claim action is thus needed from manufacturers and retailers to
help ease the sense of mistrust among the public: “Manufacturers,
processors and dealers of foods and food packaging with nanocomponents
could, for instance, follow industry-specific codes of conduct,” argue the
Moreover, the research team calls for the evaluation of existing
systems for traceability in food production to check for their
applicability to nanomaterials, and they also claim that the effects of
nanoparticles over the whole life cycle of a product, from manufacture to
disposal needs to be studied further.