Two words that are unlikely to appear in a supermarket near you any
time soon. But not because nanotechnology has no application in food – far from

The reason that the food industry is unlikely to be advertising the
widespread applications of nanotechnology, according to Dr. Frans Kampers, of
Wageningen University in the Netherlands, is because both the scientists
developing the technologies and the food industry that could reap the benefits,
are exercising the cautionary principle and ensuring that effective risk
management applied. Experience that has told them how reluctant consumers can be
to accept new technologies on their plates.

However, as Kampers explained in his Albert Franks Memorial Lecture,
organised by the Institute of
in London in January this year, the potential applications
are many and we as consumers should not be too eager to dismiss them.

For a good understanding of how nanotechnology can be put to good use in
foods, I cannot stress enough that Kampers’ presentation is a must-see, even for
nano-sceptics. Thus, for once, I am not going to repackage the information in an
easily digestible condensed format. I am just going to tell you where to find
the information and let you go see for yourself. What the Institute of
Nanotechnology have done is to present the webcast of the event alongside
Kampers’ own slides, which makes an accessible enough format in its own right. I
also recommend you don’t switch off till the very end – as always, the questions
raised by the audience are often as informative as the rest of the lecture. In
this case, concerns raised by a lady from the UK’s organics watchdog, the Soil

If you still feel hungry for knowledge, CAB Abstracts has been storing papers
specifically relating to ‘Biosensors and Biological Nanotechnology’ under the
unique ‘CabiCode’ WW900 since June 2002. As a result, some extremely good
discussions on the subject have been made very easy to find. I recommend the
search string (WW900
AND QQ*):cc AND (nano*):su
, which, as of today, yields 30 records. My
personal favourite is Weiss et al.’s 2006 Scientific Status Summary for the
Institute of Food Technologists. This review, published in the Journal
of Food Science
, addresses all the applications Kampers highlights in
his presentation; and a few more. However, back in 2006, clearly optimism
reigned supreme and the precautionary principle Kampers describes in 2008 is
noticeably absent.

And that’s enough from me. Over
to you, Dr. Kampers

1 Comment

  1. x-ray fluorescence on 2nd February 2009 at 8:10 am

    In feature nanos has great demand.So, within a few years, I guess there is going to be an increasing demand for nano-labelling. I guess people will also want to protect themselves from “hazardous nanoparticles….

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