The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has opened a public consultation period on draft guidance for the agency’s risk assessment of nanoscience and nanotechnology applications in human and animal food. The draft, intended to update the 2011 guidance, will include coverage of novel foods, food contact materials, food and feed additives and pesticides. It also considers in vivo and in vitro toxicology studies and outlines a tiered framework for testing. The deadline for submission of public comments is March 4, 2018.
The Direction générale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (DGCCRF), a French agency for consumer affairs and fraud prevention, has reportedly tested samples of consumer goods throughout France and found titanium dioxide in 17 of the 19 samples. DGCCRF reportedly found nanoparticles in confectionery, sauces, spices, cake toppings and decorations that did not include the ingredient on package labeling as required by EU regulations. The European Food Safety Authority has approved the use of titanium dioxide but has not set an acceptable daily limit for the additive due to lack of data.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued working guidance on its Section 8(a) Information Gathering Rule on Nanomaterials in Commerce for the agency’s Final Nanotechnology Reporting and Record-Keeping Requirements Rule, which became effective August 14, 2017. The rule has been modified to eliminate: (i) exemptions for nanoclays, zinc oxide, nanocellulose and naturally occurring nanomaterials from reporting requirements; (ii) volume cut-offs below which no reporting would be required; and (iii) an exemption for chemical substances manufactured as part of surface films. Issue 645
A new report from the public policy research arm of the U.S. Congress provides an overview of federal research and development (R & D) in nanotechnology; environmental, health and safety concerns; and U.S. competitiveness in the field. According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has appropriated nearly $21.8 billion for nanotechnology R & D since the inception of the National Nanotechnology Initiative (NNI) in 2000, and President Barack Obama (D) has requested $1.4 billion in NNI funding for FY2017. “Proponents assert that nanotechnology has the potential to bring revolutionary products to market, reshaping existing industries and creating new ones,” concludes the report. “These products may bring significant economic and social benefits to the United States and to the world; however, substantial research, development, and innovation. Issue 610
Responding to a request from the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA’s) Panel for Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM Panel) has published a statement on the presences of microplastics and nanoplastics in food, particularly seafood. According to the CONTAM panel, microplastics range in size from 0.1 to 5,000 μm and are either manufactured to that size (primary microplastics) or fragmented (secondary microplastics). Nanoplastics, which range in size from approximately 1 to 100 nm (0.001–0.1 μm), “originate from engineered material or can be produced during fragmentation of microplastic debris.” After reviewing the scientific literature, the panel concludes that more work is needed to develop and standardize analytical methods for microplastics and nanoplastics “in order to assess their presence, identity and to quantify their amount in food.” As the statement notes, “Occurrence data are limited. In contrast to microplastics no methods or occurrence data in…
The Food Standards Agency’s independent Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) will host a February 4, 2016, workshop in London. Breakout sessions will target (i) the food-medicine continuum; (ii) alternative proteins, e.g., insects and in vitro meat production; and (iii) engineered nanomaterials. Registrations are requested by January 14, 2016. See ACNFP News Release, December 14, 2015. Issue 588
A study examining table salts sold in China has purportedly found that many brands contain microscopic plastic particles such as polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene and cellophane. Dongqi Yang, et al., “Microplastic Pollution in Table Salts from China,” Environmental Science & Technology, October 2015. Relying on samples obtained from Chinese supermarkets, researchers report that microplastic content was highest in sea salts at 550–681 particles per kilogram, followed by lake salts at 43–364 particles/kg and rock salts at 7–204 particles/kg. The authors link this contamination to the pollution of coastal and estuary waters with water bottles, cellophane wrappers and the microbead exfoliates found in cosmetics. They also raise questions about the salt processing, drying and packaging process. Based on World Health Organization guidelines for salt intake, the study estimates that adults who maximize their sea salt consumption will ingest approximately 1,000 microplastic particles each year from table salt alone, in addition to the…
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance for industry about the agency’s “current thinking regarding the use of nanomaterials or the application of nanotechnology in food for animals.” According to FDA, the recommendations are intended to assist industry and other stakeholders identify potential safety or regulatory status issues. See Federal Register, August 5, 2015. Issue 574
Responding to a shareholder resolution filed by As You Sow, Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. has reportedly agreed to reformulate its white powdered donuts to avoid the use of titanium dioxide nanoparticles. In return, the shareholder advocacy group has withdrawn its most recent resolution, which claimed that “recent research on the ingestion of inorganic nanoparticles has raised concerns regarding toxicity to humans and the environment.” According to As You Sow, 18.7 percent of shareholders supported a previous resolution asking Dunkin’ to identify any products containing nanomaterials. That resolution followed a 2013 report alleging that food-grade titanium dioxide can contain particles less than 100 nanometers “in at least one dimension.” “Insufficient safety information exists regarding these manufactured particles, especially for use in foods; preliminary studies show that nanomaterials can cause DNA and chromosomal damage, organ damage, inflammation, brain damage, and genital malformations, among other harms,” claims a March 5, 2015, As You…
The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) and the Fraunhofer Nanotechnology and Food Chain Management alliances have organized a two-day public event on March 5-6, 2015, in Berlin to discuss a range of risk-related issues related to the use of nanomaterials. Symposium topics will include (i) European Food Safety Agency guidance on nanomaterials, (ii) the NanoDefine project, (iii) migration potential of nanomaterials in food contact plastics, (iv) inhalation toxicology, and (v) public acceptance of nanotechnology. Charged with “providing information on possible, identified and assessed risks which foods, substances and products may entail for consumers,” BfR reports to the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture. Issue 553