Peers criticise food industry secrecy on nanotechnology

· Lord committee calls for more checks on use of nanomaterials in food and the dangers posed to the human body.
Nanotechnology & the Blood-Brain Barrier - www.guardian.co.uk
The UK food industry comes under attack from peers today for being secretive over its development of nanotechnology in food and drink.
The Lords science and technology committee is urging the government and research councils to carry out more checks into the use of nanomaterials in food and in particular the dangers for the human body.
Nanotechnology involves whittling common materials down to the size of microscopic particles, allowing them to acquire unusual properties.
Nanoparticles have been used in cosmetics and sun-cream products. They can help create foods which taste the same as conventional alternatives but have lower fat, salt or sugar levels, or enrich foods with supplements, or even be used in packaging to extend products' shelf-life.
Nanotechnology is also being seen as a successor to genetically modified (GM) techniques. [...]
Research has shown that nanoparticles can penetrate into places larger particles cannot go, such as through the "blood-brain barrier", which stops toxic molecules passing from the blood into the brain. They find their way into vital organs including the kidneys and liver, but precisely what they do in them has yet to be fully investigated.


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