APPENDIX 3: CALL FOR EVIDENCE |
Call for Evidence: Nanotechnologies and Food
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee
has appointed a sub-committee, chaired by Lord Krebs, investigate
the use of nanotechnologies in the food sector. The Committee
intends to focus on the following areas: food products, additives
and supplements; food contact packaging; food manufacturing processes;
animal feed; pesticides and fertilisers; and products that may
come into contact with food, such as food containers and cooking
The Committee does not propose to restrict the evidence
it receives by limiting witnesses to a strict definition of nanotechnologies
or nanomaterials. We would welcome evidence on the use of both
manufactured and naturally occurring nanotechnologies and nanomaterials.
The Committee will not be considering what happens
to nanotechnologies and nanomaterials when they become waste products,
or their potential impact on the environment.
The Committee invites evidence on the following questions:
State of science and its current use in the food
- What are the main potential applications
and benefits of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in the food
sector, either in products or in the food production process?
- What is the current state of the
market for, and the use of, food products and food production
processes involving nanotechnologies or nanomaterials, either
abroad or in the UK?
- What might the 'next-generation'
of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials look like? How might they
be applied in the food sector, and when might they enter the market?
- What is the current state of research
and development in the UK regarding nanotechnologies and nanomaterials
which have or may have an application within the food sector?
How does it compare to research and development in other countries?
- What are the barriers to the development
of new nano-products or processes in the food sector?
Health and safety
- What is the current state of scientific
knowledge about the risks posed to consumers by the use of nanotechnologies
and nanomaterials in the food sector? In which areas does our
understanding need to be developed?
- Is research funding into the health
and safety implications of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials
in the food sector sufficient? Are current funding mechanisms
fit for purpose?
- Can current risk assessment frameworks
within the food sector adequately assess the risks of exposure
to nanotechnologies and nanomaterials for consumers? If not, what
amendments are necessary?
- Are the risks associated with
the presence of naturally occurring nanomaterials in food products
any different to those relating to manufactured nanomaterials?
Should both types of nanomaterials be treated the same for regulatory
- Is the regulatory framework for
nanotechnologies and nanomaterials fit for purpose? How well are
imported food products containing nanotechnologies and nanomaterials
- How effective is voluntary self-regulation
either in the UK or EU or at an international level? What is the
take up by companies working in the food sector?
- Will current regulations be able
adequately to control the next generation of nanotechnologies
- Is there any inter-governmental
co-operation on regulations and standards? What lessons can be
learned from regulatory systems in other countries?
Public engagement and consumer information
- What is the current level of public
awareness of nanotechnologies, and the issues surrounding the
use of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in the food sector?
What is the public perception of the use of such technologies
- How effective have the Government,
industry and other stakeholders been in engaging and informing
the public on these issues? How can the public best be engaged
- What lessons can be learned from
public engagement activities that have taken place during the
development of other new technologies?
- Should consumers be provided with
information on the use of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in