Group Wants FDA to Stop Sale of Foods, Packaging Using Nanotechnology

Untested nanotechnology is being used in more than 100 food products, food packaging, and contact materials without warning or new FDA testing, according to a report released March 11 by Friends of the Earth.

The report, "Out of the Laboratory and onto Our Plates: Nanotechnology in Food and Agriculture," found nanomaterials in popular products and packaging including Miller Light beer, Cadbury Chocolate packaging, and ToddlerHealth, a nutritional drink powder for infants sold at health food stores.

"Nanotech food was put on our plates without FDA testing for consumer safety," said Ian Illuminato, Friends of the Earth Health and Environment campaigner. "Consumers have a right to know if they are taste-testing a dangerous new technology."

Existing regulations require no new testing or labeling for nanomaterials when they are created from existing approved chemicals despite major differences in potential toxicity. The report reveals toxicity risks of nanomaterials such as organ damage and decreased immune system response.

Report co-author Georgia Miller, Friends of the Earth Australia Nanotechnology Project coordinator, said many of the world's largest food companies, including Heinz, Nestle, Unilever and Kraft are using and testing nanotechnology for food processing and packaging. "There is no legal requirement for manufacturers to label their products that contain nanomaterials or to conduct new safety tests," said Miller.

Nanotechnology, the manipulation of matter at the scale of atoms and molecules, is now used to manufacture nutritional supplements, flavor and colors additives, food packaging, cling wrap and containers, and chemicals used in agriculture.

"Friends of the Earth calls on the FDA to stop the sale of all nano food, packaging, and agricultural chemicals until strong scientific regulations are enacted to ensure consumer safety and until ingredients are labeled," said Illuminato.

The report details more than 100 nano food, food packaging, and food contact products now on sale internationally. The full report can be found at www.foe.org.

Friends of the Earth is the U.S. voice of an influential, international network of grassroots groups in 70 countries.

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