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Sunday 24th June 2018

The food industry 'too secretive'

8th January 2010

The food industry has accused of a lack of openness in its use of nanotechnology.

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The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has produced a report 'Nanotechnologies and Food' in which it calls for a public register of food or packaging that makes use of nanotechnology.

Nanotechnology uses minute particles which have wide-ranging properties used in the food sector to enhance flavour or make processed foods healthier.

However, while there are investigations to see how these properties arise with nanotechnology regarded as a subject requiring further study to ensure their safety, the food industry has been accused of wanting to keep a low profile on the subject to avoid controversy.

Lord Krebs, who chaired the committee’s inquiry, acknowledged there were no clear dangers but were still “gaps in knowledge” in this area.

The committee said it was regrettable that the food industry was refusing to discuss its work on nanotechnology.

Lord Krebs said: “They got their fingers burnt over the use of GM crops and so they want to keep a low profile on this issue. We believe that they should adopt exactly the opposite approach. If you want to build confidence you should be open rather than secretive.”

The Food and Drink Federation said it supported the need for a formation of a discussion group and greater transparency on nanotechnology and acknowledged the need for more work to be conducted on the use of nanotechnologies in the food sector.

More than 80 food-related products use nanotechnology, though none are currently made in this country.


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