The NGO Friends of the Earth Australia (FoEA) has published an overview of nanotechnology-related developments in the food and agricultural sectors in Australia that have occurred since its last report on the topic in 2008. Entitled Way too little: Our Government’s Failure to regulate Nanomaterials in Food and Agriculture, the report opines that ‘since 2008 there has been a growing body of evidence indicating that certain nanomaterials may be harmful’, and yet ‘regulatory intervention remains minimal’ in the country.
FoEA argues that its report ‘reveals that the claim by regulators that no food and agricultural products containing nanomaterials are available in Australia is incorrect’, and suggests that ‘chemical companies are not declaring the nanomaterials they are using’; to highlight this it provides a list of those products it has identified as containing nanomaterials. Furthermore FoEA states that ‘it is essentially impossible to give an accurate count of the number of nano products now available [in the country]’, because of ‘the rapid expansion in the number of products since 2008’ as well as ‘because there is still no labelling or registration requirement’.
In response the NGO makes a number of recommendations, though it says that ‘there are three basic and critical steps that need to occur immediately:
- A moratorium on the production and sale of new products containing nanomaterials until necessary research is conducted and regulations to protect human health and the environment are put in place
- A mandatory and public register of nanomaterials and products containing nanomaterials in Australia
- A labelling requirement for all products containing nanomaterials’
Follow this link to read the full report by FoEA.