On June 11, 2014 the news provider Mother Jones published an article addressing nanomaterial use in food packaging. Journalist Tom Philpott contends that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is very ambiguous regarding nanomaterials, arguing on one hand that they may pose unique safety concerns, and on the other hand making the testing of packaging materials geared specifically to nanomaterials voluntary. According to a report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in 2010, it remains unclear how widely nanotechnology is used in food contact materials. According to Philpott, a database maintained by the Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) list products such as beer bottles, aluminum foil, sandwich bags and a salad bowl. He quotes Tom Neltner from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) stating that he “believe[s] nano-engineered particles are being extensively used in food packaging”. According to Joseph Hotchkiss, director of the School of Packaging and Center for Packaging Innovation and Sustainability and professor at Michigan State University, U.S. industry is still waiting on the sidelines until more safety research on nanotechnology becomes available. Philpott concludes that the knowledge gaps on how widely nanotechnology is used in food packaging and what its health consequences are may potentially be a big problem.
Tom Philpott (June 11, 2014). “Are nanoparticles from packaging getting into your food?” Mother Jones.