Outlook and Challenges of Nanotechnologies for Food Packaging

This manuscript provides an up-to-date overview of the use of nanomaterials in food contact materials and the migration behaviour of nanoparticles from these materials into foods.

Nanotechnology was originally considered to have high potential for food packaging applications. The ability to provide additional consumer benefits through the improvement of key properties of packaging materials and the creation of new functionalities means that the increased use of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies in packaging is highly likely. It has, however, failed up to now to reach the widespread use that was initially expected, mainly because of uncertainties surrounding the safety of these materials during the various stages of their life-cycle, which have limited legal and consumer acceptance.
This paper aims to present the latest developments in the field of nanotechnologies for food packaging applications, describing the legal framework linked to their usage and attempts to clarify the current knowledge of the safety of these materials both for the consumer and the environment.
It shows that particulate migration into foodstuff is absent in many applications, which drastically reduces potential risk during the use phase of packaging materials, i.e. the exposure of the consumer to nanoparticles. Other release routes are also evaluated, showing that, although safe in normal use conditions, prudence should still be used, especially with regard to release after disposal of the materials.

The full article can be accessed here.

For more information on the Packaging Material Task force, please click here.