Nanotechnologies and Food - Science and Technology Committee Contents

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 278 - 279)


Ms Sue Davies, Professor Vyvyan Howard and Ms Georgia Miller

  Q278  Chairman: Good morning, I would like to welcome the two witnesses we have in the room, Sue Davies from Which? and Professor Vyvyan Howard, representing the Soil Association but also to welcome Georgia Miller who is joining us by video link from Australia and she represents Friends of the Earth Australia. I would also like to remind the witnesses and members of the Committee that the proceedings are being webcast and also that the information note available for members of the public—who are also very welcome in this session—sets out the declared interests of members of the Committee so they will not be repeated whilst asking questions. In welcoming our witnesses to this fifth public hearing of our inquiry into nanotechnologies and food I would like to invite each of you in turn to introduce yourselves for the record and at that same time if there is anything you would like to say by way of brief introduction before we move to the questioning then this is your opportunity. I would also like to emphasise that given that we are working with a video link the sound quality is very good but there is a slight delay between what we say and what Georgia hears and likewise in the other direction, so please remember to speak slowly and to pause if necessary for Georgia's response to come through. May I now invite the witnesses, starting with Sue Davies, to introduce yourselves?

  Ms Davies: Thank you very much and thank you for the opportunity to come and give evidence to you today. I am Sue Davies and I am Chief Policy Advisor at Which?, the consumer organisation, where I work mainly on food issues. Which?—in case you are not aware—is an independent not-for-profit consumer organisation that campaigns on a range of issues on behalf of all consumers and we are funded through the sale of our consumer information, so Which? magazine, Good Food Guide, Which? Online. This is an issue that we have been looking at in quite a bit of detail over the last couple of years because we recognise that nanotechnologies offer a lot of benefits for consumers but they also raise potential risks, and so we want to make sure that they are developed in a responsible way so that consumers can take advantage of them but not unnecessarily be put at risk.

  Q279  Chairman: Thank you. Professor Howard?

  Professor Howard: Thank you very much for the opportunity to come here today. My name is Vyvyan Howard; I am a medical doctor, pathologist and I specialise in toxicology, I am Professor of Bioimaging at the University of Ulster. I have just finished six years serving on the Advisory Committee for Pesticides. I have sat on two European expert panels concerning nanotoxicology; I am in receipt of two EU grants to investigate the toxicology of nanoparticles. I also gave scientific evidence to the Soil Association for their consideration in the preparation of their report. I think we will be talking about the specifics of it later, but those are the main things.

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