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Overview Nanotechnology is giving scientists the means to make and manipu- late matter at a size scale never before possible and create novel struc- tures with highly unique properties and wide-ranging applications. Manufacturing industries are actively exploring potential applications of nanotechnology, and many products made with nanoengineered materials are entering the marketplace. In the food industry, scientists are explor- ing nanotechâs potential to encapsulate and deliver nutrients directly into targeted tissues, enhance the flavor and other sensory characteristics of foods, and introduce antibacterial nanostructures into foods, among other applications. The potential benefits are not just in foods themselves but also in the things that âsurroundâ foods, like food packaging, food proc- essing and sensory systems, and basic food and nutrition science re- search. However, as with any new technology, along with the intended and ancillary benefits of these applications, there will likely be unanticipated adverse effects. There is still a great deal to learn about the nutritional and safety consequences of introducing nanosized materials into foods and food packaging materials. For example, how do the properties of nanomaterials change when introduced into different types of food ma- trices or migrate from packaging materials into foods? What happens when nanomaterials interact with a unique biological system such as the human gut? And what is required for evaluating and balancing the poten- tial benefits and risks of introducing nanosized materials into foods and, via those foods, into the human body? Developing nanotechnology into a safe, effective tool for use in food science and technology will require addressing these and other questions. Assuring consumer confidence will be equally important to the success of this new emerging technology. 1
2 NANOTECHNOLOGY IN FOOD PRODUCTS On December 10, 2008, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) held a one- day workshop to further explore the use of nanotechnology in food. Spe- cifically, the workshop was organized around three primary topic areas: (1) the application of nanotechnology to food products (âSession 1â); (2) the safety and efficacy of nanomaterials in food products (âSession 2â); and (3) educating and informing consumers about the applications of nanotechnology to food products (âSession 3â). Ten experts who have been involved in food nanotechnology since its inception and who are recognized as world authorities in the field were invited to give presenta- tions. Each session comprised three or four presentations, followed by open discussion. This report is a summary of the presentations and discussions that took place during the workshop. The organization of the workshop report parallels the organization of the workshop itself, with the Session 1 pres- entations and discussions summarized in Chapter 2 (âApplication of Nanotechnology to Food Productsâ); Session 2 presentations and discus- sions summarized in Chapter 3 (âSafety and Efficacy of Nanomaterials in Food Productsâ); and Session 3 presentations and discussions summa- rized in Chapter 4 (âEducating and Informing Consumers About Appli- cations of Nanotechnology to Food Productsâ). Each chapter begins with an overview of the major issues addressed during that session. The meeting transcripts and presentations served as the basis for the summary. The agenda for the workshop appears in Appendix A, and Ap- pendix B lists the workshop participants. Appendix C contains the bio- graphical sketches for the presenters, moderators, and panelists. Appen- dix D lists acronyms and abbreviations used throughout the workshop. The reader should be aware that the material presented here expresses the views and opinions of individuals participating in the workshop either as presenters, panelists or audience members, and not the deliberations or conclusions of a formally constituted IOM committee. The objective of the workshop was not to come to consensus on any single issue. Nor was the goal to comprehensively address all pertinent food safety issues. It was to examine ways that nanotechnology applications in food and nutri- ents can contribute to the wellbeing of the general public and safety of nanotechnology in food products. These proceedings summarize only the statements of workshop participants and are not intended to be an ex- haustive exploration of the subject matter. Food Forum Chair Michael Doyle opened the meeting with some brief introductory remarks. While there would be some discussion later during the workshop around the lack of consensus regarding a specific
OVERVIEW 3 definition of nanotechnology (or nanotechnologies), nanotechnology as a term generally defines objects that fall within the 1 to 100 nanometer (nm) scale, with 1 nm equaling one-billionth of a meter (10â9 m), As Doyle put it, nanomaterials are so small, even bacteria would need a mi- croscope to see them! Nano-sized structures can do âincredibleâ things, Doyle said, when they are applied to foodsâthey can change the color, smell, or other sensory characteristics, and they can alter the nutritional functionality. Some key questions remain, however, regarding the nutri- tional and safety consequences of using nanomaterials as food compo- nents. The purpose of the workshop, Doyle said, was to discuss the ap- plications of nanotechnology in food, the potential benefits for food safety and nutrition applications, and issues of safety and consumer con- cerns about the use of nanotechnologies in food. Doyle acknowledged members of the planning committee, then in- troduced the first speaker of the day, Rickey Yada, whom Doyle said would be providing an overview of nanotechnology and opportunities for it to be applied in foods, food packaging, and nutrient delivery. A para- phrased summary of Yadaâs presentation is provided in Chapter 1.