Every few years there is a call for nano materials and food to be labeled and the rationale is that in the case of GMO’s it allowed consumers to make an informed choice. An article GM a “cautionary tale” for nanotechnology caught my eye:
However, the author states:“The GM food rejection in OECD countries provides an illustration of what needs to be avoided. At the same time, despite all warning, there are signs that nano food products may face the exact same consumer rejection as GM food.”
But is this really true?
Food, certainly here in the UK, is over labeled if anything and a trawl around the contents of the kitchen fridge reveals things like “fresh everyday tender and tasty living baby leaf lettuce”, some “air dried and simply sliced pepperoni, a “Calabria Inspired Pizza with Spicy Schiacciata Salami, Red Onion and Fig” and some “Sweet Cured Smoked Back Bacon with Maple Syrup.”
So before we get round to looking at the back or side of the package the ingredients were already being bombarded with so much meaningless information that nobody understands. I spent ten years in Spain so I am aware of the difference between hojiblanca and arbequina olives, although I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference if they were on a pizza, but for most people olives come in two varieties, black and green (and perhaps the pimiento stuffed ones you find in a martini)
The crux of the problem is that outside of the food pages of the national newspapers, which are written for a largely metropolitan readership who care passionately about the provenance of their salami and can taste the minute differences in taste between various regions of Umbria, most people think they don’t care what they’re eating. For the last 40 years people have been happily shoveling down trans fats and polyunsaturated oils, all of which are essentially man-made creations and now beginning to have a major effect on public health. The same applies to the dreaded pink slime, the mechanically recovered ‘meat’ which has been used for years with no one noticing, and is one of a multitude of ingredients in processed foods which need not be labeled as anything other than ‘beef.’
Which brings me onto the subject of afternoon tea, a refreshing cup of Ceylon tea accompanied by one of Heston Blumethal’s ‘Earl Grey and Mandarin Hot Cross Buns,’ the ingredients for which are given below. But did I read the ingredients before I bought them? Before I toasted one – inadvertently creating few species of carbon nanomaterials – and slapped on some ‘Brittany butter with sea salt crystals’? And if any of the ingredients did contain any nanomaterial, whether natural or man made, would it, or should it have made any difference?