FSANZ releases nanotechnology reports

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 6th June 2016

Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) has released two reports into the use of nanotechnologies in existing food additives and food packaging.

According to a recent update to the FSANZ website, in 2015 an expert toxicologist prepared two peer-review reports into the potential use of nanotechnologies in food additives and packaging within Australia.

The toxicologist was asked by FSANZ to review scientific literature on whether there is any health risk with consuming titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide and silver in food – food additives which may contain a proportion of material with at least one dimension in the nanoscale range.

The study also included looking at whether there would be any health risk from nanomaterials used in food packaging.

The toxicologist findings included:

  • “The consultant reviewed the evidence on nanoscale silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide and silver in food and found the weight of evidence does not support claims of significant health risks for food grade materials.”
  • “Titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide are used internationally in a range of food products and have been used safely for decades. They are approved food additives in Australia and New Zealand. Silver is also an approved additive in Australia and New Zealand but is permitted in very few foods.”

  • “Overall, the findings of the report are consistent with recently published information in the OECD’s Working Party on Manufactured Nanomaterials Sponsorship Programme for the Testing of Manufactured Nanomaterials toxicological dossiers on silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide and silver.”

  • “There is no direct evidence to suggest novel nanomaterials are currently being used in food packaging applications in Australia or New Zealand, with most patents found from the United States.”

  • “From the case studies on the use of nano-clay and nano silver in packaging, the report concludes that there is no evidence from the literature of migration of nano-clay from packaging into food.  The nanoscale nature of nanosilver (whether used in packaging or food) is also not likely to be dangerous to consumer’s health.”

  • “An independent peer review agreed with the overall analysis and conclusions of both reports stating that they were appropriately balanced in their reporting and that none of the nanotechnologies described are of health concern.  “

FSANZ said that it recognised nanotechnology is fast evolving and findings may need to be reviewed in the future as technology advances.

It has established a Scientific Nanotechnology Advisory Group consisting of experts in the field.