Nanotechnology seeks to improve products by altering materials at a near-atomic level. There is certainly a big upside to these new techniques and possible applications from consumer goods to health and manufacturing.
However, as with any new technology, there are also concerns about safety. In particular, the use of nanoparticles in food and other consumer goods is causing concern because no one is really sure how these scientifically engineered ingredients might interact with the human body.
According to the FDA, ““nano-engineered food substances can have significantly altered bioavailability and may, therefore, raise new safety issues that have not been seen in their traditionally manufactured counterparts.”
Big food companies like McDonald’s and Kraft Foods are also exploring this new technology. But both have released statements assuring the public that they do not currently use nanoparticles in their food.
Most companies though are not as forthcoming. As You Sow, a nonprofit research group, sent surveys to 2,5000 large companies about their use of nanoparticles in food and only 26 responded.
So the group did its own independent research on powdered donuts from ten brands.
The group found that 9 out of ten, including those produced by Dunkin’ Donuts and Hostess, contained detectable levels of titanium concentrations and therefore likely contained “food-grade titanium dioxide (TiO2),” a nanoparticle that’s currently allowed in foods.
Yet only six of the 10 products listed TiO2 as an ingredient on the product packaging.