Engineered Nanomaterials in Food: Implications for Food Safety and Consumer Health

Article English OPEN
Alina Martirosyan ; Yves-Jacques Schneider (2014)
  • Publisher: MDPI AG
  • Journal: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, volume 11, issue 6, pages 5,720-5,750 (issn: 1660-4601, eissn: 1660-4601)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3390/ijerph110605720, pmc: PMC4078545
  • Subject: toxicity | metal-based nanoparticles | consumer safety | Food Technology | Medicine | nanofood | Food Safety | R | Nanoparticles | exposure | Review | nanotechnology | Humans | engineered nanomaterials | Public Health | Consumer Product Safety

From the current state-of-the-art, it is clear that nanotechnology applications are expected to bring a range of benefits to the food sector aiming at providing better quality and conservation. In the meantime, a growing number of studies indicate that the exposure to certain engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) has a potential to lead to health complications and that there is a need for further investigations in order to unravel the biological outcomes of nanofood consumption. In the current review, we summarize the existing data on the (potential) use of ENMs in the food industry, information on the toxicity profiles of the commonly applied ENMs, such as metal (oxide) nanoparticles (NPs), address the potential food safety implications and health hazards connected with the consumption of nanofood. A number of health complications connected with the human exposure to ENMs are discussed, demonstrating that there is a real basis for the arisen concern not only connected with the gut health, but also with the potency to lead to systemic toxicity. The toxicological nature of hazard, exposure levels and risk to consumers from nanotechnology-derived food are on the earliest stage of investigation and this review also highlights the major gaps that need further research and regulation.