The Royal Society has responded to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee call for evidence on nanotechnologies and food.
The Society agreed with the Committee that the use of nanotechnologies and nanomaterials in the food sector requires investigation. Nanoscience is likely to bring benefit to manufacturers and consumers of foodstuffs and related products. However they noted there is a lack of information on the current state of commercial development, and that there are technical and social uncertainties that need to be addressed.
The Royal Society believes nanotechnologies and food is an area that now needs public dialogue and opportunities should be sought for the findings to feed into policy and innovation processes. Open dialogue between the science, policy, commercial and public communities will be an important part of realising the potential benefits of nanoscience applied to food.
What is nanoscience?
Image of nanotube from www.royalsociety.org
Nanoscience and nanotechnology involve studying and working with matter on an ultra-small scale. One nanometre is one-millionth of a millimetre and a single human hair is around 80,000 nanometres in width. Nanoscience and nanotechnology encompass a range of techniques rather than a single discipline, and stretch across the whole spectrum of science, touching medicine, physics, engineering and chemistry.
What is nanoscience and nanotechnology?