Nano- regulation could benefit from two-tier approach, suggests expert

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

A new two tier system for the regulation of nano-materials in foods could help to alleviate the strain that suggested new regulations may put on industry, whilst ensuring the safety and control of ingredients and materials that need it, according to one expert.

The introduction of new technologies and ingredients in foods will always polarise opinions, and cause headaches for regulators. And few have brought more headlines in recent years than the topic of nano-materials in foods.

Speaking with FoodNavigator Vic Morris, from the Institute of Food Research, UK, said that only a small proportion of nano-technology applications have risks associated with them and are not covered by current screening or regulations.

“It’s a very tiny proportion of the applications of nano-technology where the risks can’t at the moment be calculated, and they’re the ones that tent to be highlighted when people talk about nanotechnology, and they’re the ones that are causing people some concern,”​ said Morris.

He argued that we should focus on finding a definition and forming regulations that ensure the control of the few nano-applications that are suggested to pose a risk, rather than adding additional regulatory processes for already well regulated ingredients and materials.

Morris suggested that a two-tier system that excluded all materials already covered by other regulations and only focused on those that are accumulated and not metabolised by the body could be a good idea.

“Those are the ones that should be of concern, I think, and those are the ones that might ultimately need labelling in some form if they are approved,”​ he said.

Related topics: Regulation and safety

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