The Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) has issued five regulatory proposals to respond to consumer and safety needs regarding nanomaterials found in mass-produced consumer products including food, electronics and cosmetics. During a recent workshop in which representatives from 12 member states met to prepare for a regulatory review of nanomaterials by the end of 2011, Belgian officials proposed that the EU (i) “define the obligation to inform the consumer of the presence of nanomaterials in consumer products”; (ii) “ensure the traceability of the chain so as to be able to return to the source, if necessary” by maintaining a nanomaterials register; (iii) “identify the most appropriate regulatory path at the EU level for risk evaluation and management,” (iv) “encourage member states, during this transitory period, to take up the responsibility and draw up integrated national strategies and concrete measures in favor of risk management, information and monitoring,” and (v) “regulate the claims made on labels of products containing nanomaterials.”

While Paul Magnette, Belgian Minister for Energy, Environment, Sustainable Development and Consumer Protection, told a news source that there was “no need to be alarmed” about the increased use of nanomaterials in consumer products in Europe before their risks are assessed, he did assert that “the current development approach for nanomaterials without prior notification of their presence or labeling of their characteristics or potential toxicity is not acceptable.” See, September 15, 2010.

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For decades, manufacturers, distributors and retailers at every link in the food chain have come to Shook, Hardy & Bacon to partner with a legal team that understands the issues they face in today's evolving food production industry. Shook attorneys work with some of the world's largest food, beverage and agribusiness companies to establish preventative measures, conduct internal audits, develop public relations strategies, and advance tort reform initiatives.

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