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Nanofoods: European and U.S. Regulatory Approaches
Volume 7, Issue 4

Mark J. Graffagnini

In this article, attorney Mark J. Graffagnini analyzes how nanotechnology has influenced the food industry. Nanotechnology is increasingly being used at all levels of the food chain and will present consumers and governments with new issues about the food we eat and how to regulate its quality and manage risks. From nanosensors that are being developed to help rid food products from pathogens to nanofoods which use nanotechnology to improve the digestive and nutritional qualities of foods, nanotechnology increasingly poses challenges to existing regulatory frameworks and authorities. This report presents an overview of the various ways that nanotechnology is being incorporated into and used by the food and agriculture industries in the United States and Europe. Mr. Graffagnini analyzes how existing regulatory regimes address nanofoods and how regulatory and risk management approaches are being re-imagined to fit new products. To date, the U.S. and Europe have used existing regulatory regimes governing food health and safety to regulate the risk posed by nanofoods and food nanotechnology. However, the European Parliament has recently approved proposed changes to the regulatory framework, and nanofoods may soon require specific risk assessment, authorization, and labeling before foods containing nanomaterials may enter the European market. Whether this heralds a global regulatory shift is uncertain at this juncture.

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