Cautious approach to ‘nano food’ supported


[Brussels, 5th May 2010]The EEB, Europe’s largest federation of environmental citizens’ organisations, welcomes yesterday’s vote by the European Parliament’s Environment Committee supporting the protection of Europeans from the possible dangers of using nanotechnologies in foods.

Unlike EU Member States [1], MEPs support the mandatory labelling of all nano ingredients, and requested detailed proof that nano present in both food and packaging are safe before they enter the market.

Louise Duprez, Nanotechnology Policy Officer at EEB, welcomed the outcome: “We are pleased MEPs continued to defend consumer health and the environment. There are serious knowledge gaps regarding the general safety of nano and there is great public concern about nano in food. Consumers are one step closer to being sure that nano won’t land on their plates unless it is proven to be safe.”

The EEB has long pressed for a precautionary approach to nanotechnologies as there are still many question marks hanging over their possible health and environmental impacts. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently acknowledged that risk assessments of specific nano products are “subject to a high degree of uncertainty”.

Nanotechnologies use very small particles which are measured in the billionths of a metre, and give food and other products novel properties. Due to their small size, nanoparticles have a greater potential to access the human body and enter our cells, tissues and organs.

Yesterday’s vote, on the regulation of novel foods, must now be endorsed by the whole parliament in July. The regulation will be adopted after co-decision, where both the European Parliament and Members States must agree on a final text.


Louise Duprez, EEB Nanotechnology Policy Officer,

Simon Nazer, EEB Press Officer, +32 496 438469,

Notes for editors:

[1] See press release on Council’s 1st reading common position adopted on 15 March 2010


[2] NGO recommendations on nanomaterials in food in view of the ENVI vote on 4 May 2010 on Regulation on Novel foods