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Nanoparticules et eau
Additives flavourings and processing aids
Food contact materials
Neoformed products
Nanotechnologies and nanoparticles
The Agency calls for caution

Can products containing nanoparticles be found in foodstuffs?
What types of product are these?
What are their risks and benefits?

In order to answer the questions of the General Directorate for Health, Afssa (which became ANSES as of 1 July 2010) published two reports, one on manufactured nanoparticles in water (February 2008) and the other on nanoparticles in human and animal food (March 2009). The work resulted in recommendations that were in agreement with those from other national and international bodies.

A commercial reality that is difficult to establish
The issues of nanotechnologies are wide-ranging and can concern the Agency in a number of areas - veterinary drugs, plant pharmaceutical products, human food and animal feed, packaging, water treatment processes and oral exposure (water or food) to nanoparticles that are present in the environment. In these areas, most applications are still said to be in the research stages and are not currently commercially available. The only certainty is that no water treatment process using nanoparticles has been released in the French market and no veterinary medication or plant pharmaceutical using nanotechnologies has been submitted for marketing authorisation in Europe.

Insufficient knowledge
Even though the technological perspectives opened by nanotechnologies seem immense, particularly in the area of health, understanding of the toxicity of manufactured nanoparticles is sketchy. Additionally, many questions remain to be answered before the risks and benefits relating to these compounds can be assessed. That is especially due to the fact that there is no method for measuring and tracking the life of manufactured nanoparticles in complex matrices (environment, food, organisms, etc.)

The need for caution
In view of these uncertainties, the Agency, like other international bodies, has come to the conclusion that it is impossible to assess the exposure of consumers and the health risks relating to the ingestion of nanoparticles. As a result, the Agency recommends caution as regards the use of nanotechnologies or nanoparticles in human and animal foodstuffs. It also recommends that the presence of these substances in food should give rise to systematic reporting and an application for marketing authorisation. The Agency, which actively works to identify research requirements in nanotechologies, has also created a permanent working group in order to monitor advances in this ever-changing domain.

March 2010
Nanotechnologies and nanoparticles
Did you know?
Materials made of nanometric particles, that is particles having a size of about a billionth of a metre, can sometimes show new properties or properties that are many times those of conventional materials.
Those new properties and the resulting changes in the behaviour of substances are the subject of research and development in a wide variety of fields of industry.
In the area of food, the applications that may be envisaged particularly concern materials that come into contact with food, including ingredients and nutrients, flavourings, processing agents and the like.
Nanotechnologies et nanoparticules dans l’alimentation humaine et animale
Nanotechnologies et secteur alimentaire
Hygiene alimentaire
Nutrition Composition
Physico-chemical risk
Mineral water and drinking water
Studies and surveys on Food
Human food
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