food nanoparticles

Candies and cakes filled with nanoparticles: danger?

Out of 18 sweet food products sold in stores, 100 % of the products contain nanoparticles, none of which are labelled as such. Or the food industry ensures that it does not use nanoparticle-based ingredients in its sweets, cakes and other treats
L’he food industry ensures that it does not use ingredients based on nanoparticles, i.e. substances (iron oxide, silicon, titanium dioxide, etc.) whose smallest particles have a diameter of less than 100 nanometers (nm), i.e. one ten-millionth of a meter written 60 Million Consumers. From titanium dioxide (E171) in the form of nanoparticles was thus found in the eighteen foods tested by the association, sometimes representing up to 100% of the additives used. The point? This "E171" is for example used in cosmetics and food products to whiten and make products shiny. These nanomaterials represent a number of advantages for the food industry: elimination of bacteria and odours for nano-silver, resistance and lightness for carbon nanotubes, fluidifying effect for nanosilicas for food use, etc. 
Test results from 60 Million consumers show that "All our samples, without exception, contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles! The words "[nano]" should therefore have appeared on their labels, in accordance with the European Inco regulation. This is not the case. Either the brands are unaware of this presence in the ingredients they use, or they deny the problem...".
60 Million Consumers have therefore contacted about fifteen food companies to understand their use of nanomaterials: "Nearly half of them responded, all of them claiming not to use nanomaterials. Including companies whose products in our test contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles...Bad faith or ignorance? Impossible to know. Maybe the manufacturers don't have access to all the information from their suppliers. Perhaps they are also hiding behind a definition from the European Commission dating from 2011, according to which a material is "nano" if it contains "at least 50 % of particles with dimensions between 1 nm and 100 nm". However, the European Inco regulation does not provide for any minimum threshold! ».
"But beyond their technological usefulness, we need to know whether the ingestion of nanoparticles is really harmless. Current studies do not yet make it possible to know this, but the vice tightens around certain substances such as the famous titanium dioxide... " sues the association, which proposes that until such time as "Transparency is needed, the wisest thing might be to ban foods containing the suspect additives" (Source :

Indeed, the danger can come from a substance that is a priori harmless, which can become toxic if used in minute quantities, as in nanomaterials," explains Anses. At a reduced size, particles develop new physico-chemical properties, because this size "... "is not the same as the size of a particle. gives them a larger reaction surface than the same non-nanoscale material."says the Avicenna website.
The problem is that because of their size, nanoparticles and their new properties "cross our physiological barriers much more easily." The new website of the association Agir pour l'environnement (Acting for the Environment), which warns of their danger, is available in French only:"Nanoparticles in our food penetrate the intestinal wall and end up in the placenta, liver, lungs, brain..." Various studies have shown that once in the body, nanoparticles can have an inflammatory effect on the lungs, weaken the immune system or, in rats, promote the development of cancerous bonds", according to the scientific report on the biological evaluation of medical devices containing nanomaterials.
In 2017, an experiment by INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) researchers gave rats an E171 additive, rich in 50 % titanium oxide nanoparticles, the average level present in food ingested by humans. After 100 days, the researchers observed an increase in benign lesions in the colon of rodents, leading to cases of polyps, a phenomenon never seen before and calling into question the researchers' certainties.
Following these findings, the National Food Safety Agency had urged the government, in a report issued on 4 April 2017, to continue research into the health risks associated with the presence of titanium oxide nanoparticles in various food products. Convoking the precautionary principle, the agency recommended "to limit consumer exposure by promoting safe products free of nanoparticles". (Source : Mediapart - August 25, 2017)

READ ALSO IN UP' : Producing "nanofree", is that reasonable?

What is the framework for nanomaterials?

In theory, nanomaterials are covered by REACh, the European regulation in force since 2007 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals.
However, the Avicenn denounces the marketing of nanomaterials "without prior registration or monitoring", in contradiction with the guiding principle of REACh: "no data, no market" (no data, no market in English).
There are several reasons for this:
- On the one hand, manufacturers and distributors rarely produce or import more than one tonne of nanomaterials per year - a threshold below which the REACh registration requirement does not apply.
- Secondly, even when the annual tonnage is more than one tonne, REACh does not explicitly require nanomaterials to be registered as new substances. As a result, the registration obligation is extended and the registration requirements are simplified, in particular by excluding toxicological and eco-toxicological data. REACh takes into account only the composition of chemical substances - but not their size, structure or the manifestation of new properties. REACh therefore equates produced or imported nanomaterials with the corresponding macroscopic chemical substance (e.g. titanium nano-dioxide is equated with titanium dioxide), even if the larger surface-to-volume ratio of the nanoscale form gives rise to new properties.
This criticism has been made for several years now, but is systematically swept aside by the chemical industry, which keeps repeating that "Reach is well suited to nanomaterials", while the recent setbacks suffered by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) (late 2016, early 2017) in the face of the stubborn refusal of the chemical industry to provide information attest to the contrary!
In the vast majority of cases, the macroscopic chemical substances to which the nanomaterials are attached were marketed before REACh and therefore the nanomaterials are directly placed on the market without registration or specific monitoring.
Registration and authorisation is required for nanomaterials produced or imported in volumes exceeding 100 tonnes; volumes between 1 and 100 tonnes will not be required until 2018. All of this without requiring any data on the toxicity, ecotoxicity or exposure to the nanomaterials in question!

What actions by the Government?

In July 2017, eight NGOs addressed an open letter to the government on the labelling and restriction of nanomaterials in consumer products, calling for "urgent precautionary measures" regarding nanomaterials because of the "health and environmental risks" they pose.

The Government seems to be moving and is implementing a number of actions involving the various ministries. Nicolas HULOT, Agnès BUZYN, Minister for Solidarity and Health, Bruno LE MAIRE, Minister for the Economy and Finance, and Stéphane TRAVERT, Minister for Agriculture and Food, ask the National Food Safety Agency, Environment and Work (Anses) to finalise in the short term the work it has undertaken to gather all available data on titanium dioxide in order to put an end to the uncertainties about the health impact of this substance at the nanoscale. Indeed, France must be able to submit a dossier at the European level to provide detailed data to support the re-evaluation of this substance by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
Ministers remind industry of their transparency and labelling obligations regarding the presence of manufactured nanomaterials in consumer products. The services of the Directorate-General for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Prevention have just developed a set of reliable analytical methods to monitor the presence of these substances in food and non-food products.
Initial checks have already been carried out and will be continued intensively in the second half of the year. As these controls are innovative in Europe, their results will be presented at Community level to enable, if necessary, the applicable rules to be clarified and clarified.
In addition, the Estates General on FoodThe meeting, which opened in July and begins this week, will provide an opportunity to discuss the use of nanoparticles in food in the light of the expected benefits and health uncertainties. The DGCCRF will present the results of its controls.
To go further :
-Book "The civilization of nanoproducts"by Jean-Jacques Perrier - Edition Belin, September 2017 - 192 Pages
Next NanoResp forum "Properties and benefits of nanoproducts: for whom, for what?" October 4, 2017

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