Nanotechnology has opened up so many possibilities for the food industry. You’ll find that a lot of what you eat today has been “improved” by nanotechnology. Nanotechnology is basically the manipulation of size and shape at the atomic, molecular, and macromolecular scale that produces structures, devices, and systems with new/superior characteristics or properties.
For several years now, nanotechnology has become increasingly popular especially in the food industry. One example of nanotechnology is the use of titanium dioxide to make foods such as yogurt look as white as possible. The more important use of nanotechnology involves improving the nutritional value of foods. Nano additives can enhance or prevent the absorption of certain nutrients. Now, mayonnaise can be made less fattening by replacing fat molecules with water droplets. Nanotech is also being used in the packaging industry to keep food fresher for a longer period. Ideally, nanopackaging would provide protection from moisture, bacteria, and pathogens. There are many techniques being tested, such as coating packaging with nano silver particles to make them antimicrobial or using polypropylene to inhibit moisture.
Nanotechnology in food can be really innovative and beneficial, but there are people who question its safety. There’s a lot of concern over the lack of regulation and research on the risks of nanotech in food. Another issue is the possibility of the migration of nanoparticles from the package to the food. Still, the future possibilities for nanotechnology are endless. Kraft wants to come up with a smart “blob” that could become any kind of food with any kind of flavor using nanotech.
What do you think? Should the use of nanotechnology in the food and packaging industries be continued, or should there be stricter regulations imposed?
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ORTIZ, C. (2014) Wait, There’s Nanotechnology in My Food?. [Online] Available from: http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/health/a12790/wait-theres-nanotechnology-in-my-food-16510737/. [Accessed: 28th April 2015].