November 30, 2008

Nanotech "smartfood": An Inventory


I would suspect that one of the lessons the Nanotech Food industry learned from the struggle to win over consumers for Genetically Modified Foods was: "the little they know the better off things are" and "flood the market with products and conduct the research as the consequences arise". Nanofoods are making their way in to supermarket shelves NOW. Friends of the Earth lists a few in a press release on March of this year, which include Cadbury and Miller beer. You can find an inventory of other nanotechnology consumer products at the Project for Emerging Technologies site, searchable by food, baby products, nutritional supplements, etc. It sure startled me to see the number of products on the market and I'm sure these represent a fraction of the commercially available products, because there are no labeling requirements and perhaps some companies wish to stay below the radar or public scrutiny (which we need more of).
UNEP, the United Nations Environment Programme, in its Global Environment Outlook Year Book 2007 writes that "Nanotechnology is no longer 'on the horizon'. It is fast becoming a facet of daily life." The report draws attention to the potentially grave health and environmental risks generated by the new technology, noting that "The nanoproducts now available came onto the market with limited public debate and with limited additional regulatory oversight that is specifically aimed at their novel features. Current research and development seek to rapidly explore the novel applications of nanotechnology."
Nanoparticles can slip inside cells, mitochondria, etc. what else might they do? What other function may they employ? Why is there, essentially, no regulation of these atomically modified foods? Dumb food for uninformed people.

1 comment:

Isabelle said...

I did some more reading today on the nanotechnology thing … my god, the whole business about being able to manipulate things like chocolate bars so that you can eat as many as you want and not gain weight or boost their nutrient values so that "junk" food becomes "health" food. It is practically too late to stop it as our federal government appears to be fully supporting the research into this technology. I was really surprised to read that the researchers don't know about the long term effects on human health because the lab rats they've been conducting experiments on do not have a long enough life span to really produce meaningful stats. Pardon my French but this has the potential to eventually f*ck us royally! "We" are the lab rats.