Food Safety Concerns Emerge Over Nanomaterials in Food Packaging

With food safety always the safety of food packaging that contains nanomaterials is beginning to be called into question
September 6, 2014

With food safety always a hot topic, this time it's the Food packaging that has come under fire recently, with the safety of food packaging that contains nanomaterials is beginning to be called into question.

Nanomaterials are typically used in packaging to improve food’s shelf-life, reduce exposure to microbes, and provide indications when food goes bad. The ‘Friends of the Earth’ group believe, however, that FSANZ should be putting regulations that are more stringent in place when it comes to this kind of packaging.

A primary campaigner for the cause, Jeremy Tager, has issued statements suggesting that the chemical nanomaterials used for packaging purposes are capable of contaminating food, and harming those who consume it. As a result, he requests that FSANZ becomes more proactive when it comes to researching and regulating nanomaterials in packaging, ensuring that food is safe before it is allowed to progress onto the market.

Several studies have so far suggested that the chemicals in nanomaterials can migrate into food, posing significant health risks.

Is FSANZ doing Enough for Food Safety?

In his argument, Tager made reference to a recent study, that found around 80% of food and packaging companies that have been surveyed by FSANZ have ‘largely irrelevant’ or ‘inadequate’ packaging rules. Evidently, the food and beverage manufacturing industry acknowledged that there is currently a lack of legislative requirements when it comes to understanding the safety of new, and unknown packaging materials.

What are Nanomaterials?

Nanomaterials, typically, are 100,000 times thinner than a human hair. Producers can use these materials to help improve the appearance, texture, and taste of f food, but they are typically used in packaging for other reasons.

Professor Paul Wright, who works as the head of a Nanosafety research group within RMIT University, has argued that Nano-packaging has been proven to be a useful measure overseas, stating that though nanomaterials are often painted as ‘bad’ or harmful, they actually may not be. He mentioned that the material has been likened to asbestos in the past, but reminds the public that not all forms of asbestos cause asbestosis.

FSANZ have suggested that they are aware of the concerns that have arisen about chemical migrations, launching a review of the current legislation, whilst continuing to conduct and monitor its own research regarding nanomaterials.