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NANOTECHNOLOGY IN THE FOOD CHAIN - Favv

NANOTECHNOLOGY IN THE FOOD CHAIN - Favv

interactions of NPs with

interactions of NPs with the surrounding matrix and unexpected effects resulting from this, specific data for risk assessment purposes are required. Representation of the difference in scale between nano-sized vs. micro-sized materials and structures in foods (Aguilera, 2009, based on “The Scale of Things” chart developed by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy, http://www.er.doe/gov/bes/scale_of_things.html). In response to the rapid developments in the field of nanotechnology, numerous national, European and international discussion initiatives and projects have been undertaken, and generic data requirements and guidance for risk assessment of NPs have been presented in various reports over the last five years. In 2009, the FAO/WHO convened an Expert Meeting on the application of nanotechnologies in the food and agriculture sectors, where potential food safety implications were discussed in order to identify further work that may be

equired to address the issue at a global level. The OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) established two working parties, namely a Working Party on Nanotechnology (WPN) that advises upon emerging policy issues of science, technology and innovation related to the developments of nanotechnology, and a Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials (WPMN), which focuses on testing and assessment methods (e.g. Sponsorship Programme where data regarding the physical-chemical properties, environmental degradation and accumulation, environmental toxicology, and mammalian toxicology of nanomaterials are gathered). At the European level, the European Commission (EC) launched the European Strategy for Nanotechnology and the Nanotechnology Action Plan, addressing the technological and societal challenges and strengthening the research and innovation efforts, with emphasis on sustainable development, competitiveness, health, safety and environmental issues 1 . In addition, the Commission is reviewing current regulation to determine whether NPs are adequately covered with respect to the safety of consumer products and the food chain (e.g. REACH, Novel Foods Regulation, etc.). In the area of food and agriculture, the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly-Identified Health Risks (SCENHIR) of EC DG Health & Consumer Protection advices in a number of opinions about a definition for and the risk assessment of products of nanoscience and nanotechnologies (SCENHIR, 2007a&b, 2009, 2010). Also, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published a scientific opinion on potential risks arising from nanoscience and nanotechnologies on food and feed safety (EFSA, 2009), and is currently working on a guidance document to provide practical recommendations for the risk assessment of NPs for use in food. For now, a case-by-case risk assessment is recommended. On the national level, different initiatives are taken as well, ranging from public debates to written opinions (e.g. AFSSA, 2009; BfR, 2010; FSA, 2010, 2008; FSAI, 2009; UK House of Lords, 2010; VWA, 2008). As “nano” is an emerging issue in the food chain, the Scientific Committee of the Federal Agency for the Safety of the Food Chain (FASFC) started a self tasking initiative to gather information and knowledge on the subject in order to be able 1 http://ec.europa.eu/nanotechnology/index_en.html

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