July 14, 2012

Is Nanotechnology A Threat to Our Food?

Is nanotechnology a threat to our food or even to our food supply? This is a question I do not have an answer for at this time. I can only give you what I am learning and raise additional questions. You can go about business as usual or start researching for facts yourself. We already have alarmists crying about this with few facts in hand. On the scientific side, we are being told that they are safe, but again no proof is being presented. The driving force seems to profit behind the advances in nanotechnology.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has finally issued two draft guidance documents on nanotechnology on April 20, 2012. This means they are looking at the issues, but have not made any decisions or formed any planned actions. With nanotechnology having been in existence for more than a decade, we should have had firm rules and regulations. Even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is only studying the subject and has not decided whether to take action. In the meantime, the barn door has been left wide open and the horses have gotten out.

We will probably not know what damage has been done for another decade or longer and then the good work of some nanotechnology will be suspect when the bad side of nanotechnology is discovered. Farm chemical companies and food manufacturing and related industries are adding nanoparticles to our fertilizers, pesticides, and other processes in the name of food production, safety, and storage. No scientific proof that this works or is safe for humans has been studied or proved. Does this remind you of another problem that we have very little science proving that the food is safe? It should remind you of genetically modified foods (GMF). Even the US Department of Agriculture is silent on both subjects. They only repeat what agribusiness is promoting.

Until the appropriate government agencies do appropriate scientific studies, all nanotechnology should be held and not put into use until proven safe for the environment and human health. As of yet neither side had proven anything about nanotechnology and its uses are safe. There are great potential benefits to be derived in many fields, medical, medical devices, human health, but until it is proven, we are playing Russian roulette with our lives and the lives of our children. We don't know that the packaging advances with nanotechnology that can wrap our foods and prevent spoilage will not have a health impact on our lives.

Some of the alarmist’s cries may have validity, but until scientific research proves one way or the other, can we accept that advances in nanotechnology will really be a benefit.

With this in mind, read what this alarmist is saying. A reasoned voice can be read here about nanotechnology in our cosmetics and food. If you have an interest, follow the links provided in the article. This second article also points out something we need to have in our minds. That is the legal way that many companies are bypassing putting information on our food and cosmetic labels.

I can envision many of the good benefits from nanotechnology such as medications being delivered to areas of the body and deposited where they will give the greatest benefit. They would not being broken down by our stomachs and intestines before getting where they are needed. In addition, these delivery nanoparticles can bypass healthy cells and not damage them while delivering the medications to the unhealthy cells.

I do not have definitive answers, and until I can find them, I will continue to have doubts about the current use of nanotechnology in our food production and food. We need to encourage the FDA and EPA to step up and promote scientific research to give us answers. Forget about the USDA, as they will continue to shield the food industry and agribusiness. For that, I will find them complicit in any harm resulting from nanotechnology.

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