Center for Food Safety has surveyed products currently available on the market and has cross checked with inventories from the Wilson Center, BEUC, and the government of Denmark. We have found that more than 60 foods and food contact products commercially available in the U.S. contain nano-silver. The European Food Safety Agency surveyed food safety agencies around the world and has found that more than 120 nano-silver food applications have been commercialized around the world.
Nanotechnology and nanomaterials may be tiny, but they have huge consequences for our food: These novel materials are under-studied, little understood, and lurking in your market shelves.
One of the most common—and most concerning—nanomaterials on the market already is nano-silver. Like other nanomaterials, nano-silver has unique properties that aren’t fully understood. It is thought to release silver ions that interact with the DNA of pathogens to prevent reproduction and limits key enzymes. These traits make nano-silver an extremely effective anti-microbial. Yet these same properties that excite industry also create new health and environmental risks: nano-silver has been found to kill a broad range of microbes that affect food, it is increasingly being incorporated into, among other things, plastic food wrappers, containers, and even the walls of refrigerators.
The number of applications for nano-silver is growing quickly. It is used in food supplements, food packaging, storage boxes, and even espresso makers.
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