martes, 9 de junio de 2009

Nanoafoods: No FDA definition yet

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already has sufficient authority to assess the safety of nanotechnology - but its regulation is not all to do with size, says Dr Annette McCarthy of the FDA.
Nanotechnology refers to controlling matter at an atomic or molecular scale measured in nanometers, or millionths of millimeters. In the food industry, the technology has a variety of uses including detecting bacteria in packaging, or producing stronger flavors and colorings.
For food manufacturers looking to use nanotechnology, many questions include whether the manufacturing change impacts the identity of a component and whether the change could have any impact on safety.
An official of food additive safety at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, said: “It’s industry’s responsibility to make sure a product is safe and part of that is making sure that product is regulated.”
So far, however, the FDA has avoided being specific about what nanotechnology is, although it is generally accepted that it refers to particles of around 100 nanometers.“We do not have a definition about what nano size is. We tend to talk more in terms of impact,” official said.
Asked whether consumers could be concerned that the FDA lacks a nanotechnology definition, McCarthy said: “I don’t think so. There are times when 101 nanometers is just as active as 100, so if you put a cut-off on it, it could actually end up being more misleading.” She added that FDA GRAS for nanotech ingredients in food had certainly not been ruled out, but at the moment companies would find it difficult to achieve because the current scientific knowledge is still not deep enough to conclusively prove their safety.

1 comentario:

mauro dijo...

La nanotecnología, la ciencia que manipula átomos y moléculas a una nanoescala (un nanómetro es la milmillonésima parte de un metro), gana cada vez más espacios en la cocina.

A través de la utilización de nanopartículas -que son microscópicos fragmentos parecidos al polvo con diámetros inferiores a 100 nanómetros, es decir la milésima parte del grosor de un cabello humano- la industria de los alimentos está creando productos de consumo diario con nuevos sabores, colores, estructuras y características energéticas y nutritivas.

"Muchos se refieren a la nanotecnología como la ciencia del futuro, pero la realidad es que ya está presente en muchos alimentos de consumo diario", dice a BBC Mundo, Eric Gaffet, Director de Investigación del Centro Nacional de Investigación Científica de Francia.

El término de nanoalimentos, que se refiere a aquellos que contienen nanopartículas, fue utilizado por primera vez por el profesor Dong-Myong Kim en 1998.

Aunque el uso de los nanomateriales en la alimentación se ha ido expandiendo con los años, no están claros los efectos de las nanopartículas sobre la salud, explica Gaffet, quien además es miembro del grupo de investigación sobre nanomateriales de la Academia Europea de las Ciencias.

Tampoco los europeos saben lo que consumen debido a que no hay ninguna directiva que obligue a la industria a informar qué productos contienen estos elementos.