• Question: Are there health risks in nanomaterial foods???

    Asked by sorchamccooey to Adam, Chris, Eleanor, Jessamyn, Sinead on 13 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Eleanor Holmes

      Eleanor Holmes answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      When it comes to food scientists always do their best to ensure there are no health risks. We are getting better and better at avoiding these risks. However, it is an important question. Can we know the long term effects? And perhaps another point, what happens when there is nanotechnology in food, and that nanotechnology is patented. Well then the food is patented! Just like genetically modified (GM) foods I think the biggest worry is not health, but copyright law!

    • Photo: Adam Murphy

      Adam Murphy answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      The risks are always there Sorcha, but at the moment, most of the work in food science is being done to make food safer!

      There are clay nanoparticles being put into packaging to stop air getting in and keeping food good for longer.

      There are nanoscale sensors being put into packaging to let you know if it’s spoiled. Imagine being able to look at a carton of milk and know it’s bad just by looking!

      There’s also zinc oxide nanoparticles in some transparent packaging. Zinc oxide blocks sunlight and also keeps food longer.

      There is a risk that these chemicals could be poisonous, but that’s why we test everything like this, over and over again, to make sure people are safe!

    • Photo: Sinead Cullen

      Sinead Cullen answered on 13 Nov 2013:

      Hi Sorcha,
      Before anything would ever get to market is has to be tested over and over again to make sure it is safe. Silver nanoparticles could be used in some foods to stop it going bad as nanoparticles are antibacterial and stop the food from and would stop the food from spoiling.

      Hope this helps 🙂