The issue of nanomaterials labelling

European Parliament has rejected the Commission’s proposed regulation on the labelling of nano-scale ingredients


Last Wednesday the European Parliament has rejected the Commission’s proposed regulation about how to define and label nano-scale ingredients.

It is the second time that the EU Parliament reject the proposal of labelling regulation always because it would have exempted food additives that are already on the market, and now the commission have to put forward a new proposal.

Trade association FoodDrinkEurope has underline that many common foods, such as homogenized milk, contain nanoparticles, and points out that there is a need to distinguish between their presence as a result of traditional processing and those that have been deliberately develop as different from their conventional counterparts.

After the vote, the association that the regulation could have produced a science based definition of “intentionally produced or engineered nanomaterials”.
The current lack of a definition make difficult and unsure for the food business operators to establish what must be labelled as nano or not.

At the same time, BEUC, the European Consumer Organization asked to the commission to consider the Parliament’s request for universal nano labelling when they will write a new proposal.

To describe the present situation about nanomaterials, we must remember that in Europe there is not a special regulation but in the meanwhile food industry have strongly invested in nanotechnology research. The use of nanomaterials in the food sector is increasing rapidly thanks to their faculties to flavour enhancement, removal of pathogens and undesirable chemicals, improving the bioavailability of nutrients and in packaging to detect foodborne pathogens.