Blog: Petah MarianWill nanotechnology go down the road of GM and cloning?

Petah Marian | 8 April 2011

Nanotechnology seems to have some exciting potential applications for the food sector, from prolonging the life of food products, reducing salt, fat and sugar, as well as more 'novel' concepts like adding extra nutrients to food.

However, for many years, consumers have done their best to turn a blind eye to the very intertwined relationship between science and the food on their tables, remaining ignorant to how exactly their food is produced - except in certain areas, like GM and cloning, where they get particularly passionate.

I've spent the last few days researching a feature on nanotechnology and the food sector, and while the European Parliament's attitude has been one of fear, the industry's has been that has largely been of secrecy.

In the House of Lords report published earlier this year, the science committee said that the industry's attempts to be "secretive" about its research is "is the type of behaviour which may bring about the public reaction it is trying to avert".

Meanwhile, Leatherhead microscopy consultant Kathy Groves told me this week that there is still a "climate of fear" around the word nanotechnology, and for consumers to come around to the idea of it they need to understand the benefits.

With the first packaging products containing nanomaterials set to be approved by the European Commission on 1 May, there's only a limited window of time for industry to start getting that message across.


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