FDA, Green, Science

Nano Nutrition

nanoparticles
Nanoparticles may be small, but that doesn’t mean they’re inconsequential.
Image: Shutterstock

Do “nanobots” and “nanites” sound like the stuff of science-fiction?  We are closer to that type of technology than many are comfortable admitting.  What about nanoparticles in food?

You may be thinking that anything smaller than a billionth of a meter is inconsequential.  You may be right, but what if you’re not?  These miniaturized particles of silver and titanium dioxide are small enough to cross the blood-brain barrier and end up in places larger particles can’t.  While they are small, they may not be safe.

In fact, they are already in the food you may eat every day.  Titanium dioxide is a food additive used to make white foods even whiter.  A study, conducted in 2012, found nano-sized amounts in M&M’s, Betty Crocker Whipped Cream Frosting, Jell-O Banana Cream Pudding, Mentos, Trident and Dentyne gums, Vanilla Milkshake Pop-Tarts, and Nestlé Original Coffee Creamer.

It may be that none of this is a concern.  Perhaps nanotechnology is a non-issue.  However, there are no regulations that test the safety of these particles in our food.  If a food or food additive is legal in regular food, then it is legal in infinitesimally tiny amounts too.  Some worry that nanoparticles in food packaging may be able to enter food and get accidentally ingested.

The problem is that studies have found nanoparticles to have negative effects on mice and cells.

If this concerns you at all, consider going green.  In other words, buy locally sourced, organic produce and avoid the middle isles of the grocery store.  Those are known to have the most processed types of foods.  Grown your own produce, in organic soil, if you can.

This may be the next wave of the “Just Label It” campaign to label GMO foods.  Nano-particles, you may be next!

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