Still Not in Commercial Use in the UK
1. At the end of the year 2009 the House of Lords science and technology committee released a report on its Nanotechnologies and Food Inquiry. It concluded that nanotechnology – the manipulation of matter on the atomic and molecular scale – “has the potential to deliver significant benefits to consumers.” Such benefits could include “fruit that tells you when it’s ripe to eat and packaging that’s superthin, yet also superstrong.” Such innovations might be in commercial use in less than 5 years time. Examples of application in the food sector include packaging. In the USA is a plastic beer bottle that uses nanoparticles as a gas barrier. Other food contact products containing nanomaterial include chopping boards and food containers impregnated with nanosilver with antimicrobial properties.
2. The promise of new flavours and textures of foods is mooted, as well as healthier products with reduced salt, fat or sugar content that don’t compromise on taste.
3. Lords Kreb, author of the report and first chair of the Food Standards Agency, notes that nanotechnology has the advantage over GM by benefiting the consumer, whereas GM helped the producer. Lord Krebs takes exception to the secrecy that the research attracts, which he condemns as actually hampering research. Companies known to be spending heavily on nanotechnology R and D are Unilever and Kraft.