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Asia Pacific: Authority did not find cause for alarm on using nanotechnology in food

FSANZ has published two reports on the use of nanotechnology in food additives and food packaging.

The reports have reviewed the evidence on nanoscale silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide and silver in food and found the weight of evidence does not support claims of significant health risks for food grade materials.

The reports state titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide are used internationally in a range of food products and have been used safely for decades.

They are approved food additives in Australia and New Zealand.

Silver is also an approved additive in Australia and New Zealand but is permitted in very few foods.

Overall, the findings of the report are consistent with recently published information in the OECD’s Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials Sponsorship Programme for the Testing of Manufactured Nanomaterials toxicological dossiers on silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide and silver.

The reports did not find direct evidence to suggest novel nanomaterials are currently being used in food packaging applications in Australia or New Zealand, with most patents found from the US.

From the case studies on the use of nano-clay and nano silver in packaging, the reports concludes that there is no evidence from the literature of migration of nano-clay from packaging into food.

The nanoscale nature of nanosilver (whether used in packaging or food) is also not likely to be dangerous to consumer’s health.

An independent peer review agreed with the overall analysis and conclusions of both reports stating that they were appropriately balanced in their reporting and that none of the nanotechnologies described are of health concern.