Engineered nanomaterials in food, SAFE is concerned about food safety

15 January 2024

SAFE Food Advocacy Europe is worried about the impact on food safety by the delegated act that the European Commission is going to adopt to adjust and adapt the definition of engineered nanomaterials in food. This delegated act aims to modify the definition of ‘engineered nanomaterial’ as stated in Regulation (EU) 2015/2283. It does so by incorporating the technical aspects of the general nanomaterial definition outlined in Commission Recommendation 2022/C 229/01. The adaptations encompass the inclusion of a size limit (< 100 nm), consideration of applicability (external dimension and material shape), exclusion criteria for materials exceeding a specified surface-to-volume ratio, and the definition parameters for ‘particle,’ ‘aggregate,’ and ‘agglomerate.’ Additionally, the default threshold value of 50% of particles at the nanoscale is established for a material to qualify as a nanomaterial.

The European Commission carried out consultations about this delegated act. In the latest round, closed on 12 january 2024, SAFE stated its position on the topic.

SAFE is worried that the proposed delegated act undermines food safety, consumer protection, and transparency. We are particularly concerned that most authorised additives will no longer be declared as nanomaterials on food labels. We believe that the current definition of nanofood, combined with the definitions in the proposed delegated act, creates a legislative flaw. This creates a discrepancy with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) definition.

The Commission should reconsider the text, taking into account the comments we have made.

You can find the text of SAFE’s feedback here.