Evaluating the Safety of Nanomaterials for Food-Related Uses

J. Ede, J.A. Shatkin, C. Sayes, K. Ong
Vireo Advisors, LLC,

Keywords: nanomaterials, food, safety


Nanomaterials are currently being developed for a variety of food-related uses, offering unique technical effects to improve the nutrition, taste, texture, appearance, and quality of food. Before market entry, it is essential to demonstrate their safety for these uses; however, this can be challenging for novel materials such as nanomaterials. They require tailored strategies that vary with each material, and even standardized methods require unique considerations in study design. This talk will outline a testing strategy developed to demonstrate the safety of nanomaterials for food related uses. It includes three related tiers: physical and chemical characterization, animal testing, and non-animal testing for evaluating the safety of nanomaterials in food. The approach for developing a physical and chemical characterization testing plan, the challenges, and lessons learned will be highlighted. Animal testing is a standard component of safety testing for food additives; however, nanomaterials require unique considerations in study design, such as dose selection, administration (gavage vs dietary), and end point selection, which will be discussed. Finally, emerging strategies for the safety assessment of nanomaterials in food include non-animal, or alternative test methods. Our developed alternative testing strategy will be presented, which was designed to address regulatory requirements as well as develop a more resource-efficient testing approach toward the next generation of nanomaterials for commercialization.