Nanoparticles: British consumers only admit them for health purposes and in packaging. A research by the Foods Standards Agency


Nanoparticles: British consumers only admit them for health purposes and in packaging. A research by the Foods Standards Agency

The debate on the food use of nanoparticles is always very lively. The English Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recently published a research on consumer opinion on the use of nanotechnologies in food packaging and food, conducted between the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011.

The results are clear: consumers declare a positive attitude towards the use of nanoparticles for purposes deemed important, such as reducing the salt or fat content of foods, while rejecting “commercial” uses such as the development of new flavors and aromas. While it should be noted that the people interviewed were relatively open about the use of nanotechnologies in food packaging, correctly underlining their potential benefits (prolonged shelf life and waste reduction), on the other hand it is impossible not to highlight a fundamental doubt. of consumers: will nanoparticles bring real benefits to people or will they rather serve to increase the profits of the food industry?

FSA lead researcher Andrew Wadge commented on the findings : “Research suggests that while consumers may be skeptical of the rationale for introducing nanotechnology to food, they are more likely to look favorably upon them when they perceive a real benefit to them. . I believe that both regulators and industry should draw the invitation to be transparent and to work together to explain well to people what nanotechnology is and how it can be used in food ”.

In fact, one of the consumers’ needs concerned greater transparency regarding research developments and the creation of a register of foods using nanotechnologies, drawn up by a body independent of industrial interests. No sooner said than done: The Food Standards Agency is already collecting information on the use of nanotechnologies in food products in order to create an English register of the foods in which they are used.


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