The specific societal issues that could be related to the use of nanotechnologies in the food sector, are related to the areas of communication and regulatory/safety aspects:

Communication

  • Need to provide balanced information to citizens on use of nanotechnologies to fill knowledge gaps and uncertainties

Regulatory, food safety aspects

  • Need for standardization, classification and definition of NM (e.g. natural vs. engineered nanoparticles), regulation on novel food and labelling
  • Safety aspects of nanomaterials, in-depth safety testing (need to investigate long-term effects of nanoparticles in consumed food on human body and health)
  • Lack of technologies to detect nano-particles (e.g. to establish whether nano-particles from packaging could migrate in food)
  • Need to grant food safety in minimally processed foods, while reducing food processes

Quotes from various stakeholders in Europe

“…the path leading to development of food with nano-particles is destructive for human health. When nutrients are started to be modified in nano-scale, human body wouldn’t be able to process and deal with them.” [Public research]
“I would be interested in what the eco-terrorists and other activists say if also involved later on in your stakeholders workshops.” [Industry] 
“It should also be considered that the way consumers perceive and deal with risks and benefits of the use of new technologies in food is also strongly cultural dependent.” [R&I networks] 
“Negative impacts are not known yet we are not aware of risks” [Policy]