The Unlabeled Use of Nanoparticles in Our Food

If you often find yourself browsing through the food aisles of grocery stores, meticulously reading labels and finding unfamiliar ingredients, then you may have come across a range of substances produced using nanotechnology. It is a groundbreaking field that has revolutionized the manufacturing of numerous everyday products.

This cutting-edge process involves converting metals like copper, silver, aluminum, gold, as well as carbon, silicon, and metal oxides, into minuscule particles that are merely one-billionth of a meter in size. Among these nano-sized ingredients, titanium dioxide stands out as the most renowned additive. However, your pantry may also harbor a multitude of others.

Since the 1990s, nanotechnology has become widely used in food production and manufacturing. These minuscule additives have the power to make our food more vibrant, tastier, creamier, or crunchier. Not only that, but they also help in extending the freshness of our food, reducing waste and ensuring consumer satisfaction. Even in the medical field, nano-sized additives have shown their ability to enhance the effectiveness of certain medications.

However, as these innovative product enhancers gain popularity, concerns have been raised by consumer groups and health experts and believe that the benefits come at a cost to our health. Studies have demonstrated the ability of these small particles to cross the blood-brain barrier. Nanoparticles have the ability to circulate throughout the body and be absorbed into the bloodstream and organs. They can penetrate cell walls, potentially leading to inflammation and disease. Moreover, there is a possibility that they may pass through the lining of the gut, triggering inflammatory or immune responses. There is a concern of these particles accumulating in various parts of the body, including the heart, lungs, and reproductive system.

According to the FDA, the number of applications for approval of nanotechnology-containing products has experienced a remarkable surge in the past decade, reaching its peak in 2020. In the United States, experts estimate that there are approximately 1,900 to 2,500 food items that incorporate nanoparticles. Consequently, numerous countries worldwide have taken proactive measures to restrict or prohibit the use of nanoparticles in food due to health concerns.

Interestingly, the FDA does not currently mandate labeling or banning of products containing nanoparticles, and instead, its guidelines emphasize a case-by-case evaluation. This approach highlights the importance of meticulous oversight. Regrettably, research on the long-term effects of ingesting nanoparticles remains relatively scarce, leaving many questions unanswered.

As nanotechnology continues to evolve, it is crucial for regulators, scientists, and consumers to collaboratively address the potential risks and benefits it presents in the realm of food production.

To view the original scientific study click below:
Food-Grade Metal Oxide Nanoparticles Exposure Alters Intestinal Microbial Populations, Brush Border Membrane Functionality and Morphology, In Vivo (Gallus gallus)