In a new review article published on February 10, 2015 in the peer-reviewed journal Trends in Food Science & Technology, Irish researchers from University College Dublin and University College Cork discuss the advances and challenges associated with the use of engineered nanoparticles (ENPs) in food contact materials (FCMs). Hannon and colleagues look at the recent developments in nanocomposite FCMs, applications and legislations. A particular focus is placed on the risks associated with unintentional human exposure to ENPs, which may have migrated from FCMs. Available exposure assessment models are presented along with current knowledge on fate of ENPs in the human gastrointestinal tract. Further, the authors summarize published experimental and modeled data on ENP migration from FCMs into food. Policy developments associated with the use of nanotechnology in FCMs are also covered.

To aid understanding of nanotechnology in the area of FCMs, a specific exposure framework for nanomaterials is needed. This framework would provide prompt risk assessment and would be beneficial to industry, regulatory bodies as well as consumers, the authors stress.

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Hannon, J.C. et al. (2015). “Advances and challenges for the use of engineered nanoparticles in food contact materials.Trends in Food Science & Technology (available online February 10, 2015).