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Nanoparticles and infant formula

(May 2016)
 

A statement by Friends of the Earth Australia about the possible presence of nanoparticles in some infant formulas sold overseas will cause unnecessary concern amongst caregivers.  

The substances identified in the report are not permitted food additives, or permitted forms of the minerals, in infant formula in Australia and New Zealand.  

The products tested in the US are also not available for retail sale in Australia and New Zealand. 

The report, commissioned by Friends of the Earth in the United States, claims nanoscale titanium dioxide, silicon dioxide and hydroxyapatite were found in infant formula products available for sale in the United States. 

FSANZ takes concerns about food safety extremely seriously and has previously responded to concerns about nanoscale titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide in food additives. Read our response here  

About nanoscale materials 

Nanoscale materials are not new. Food is naturally composed of nanoscale sugars, amino acids, peptides and proteins, many of which form organised, functional nanostructures.  

For example, proteins are in the nanoscale size range and milk is an emulsion of nanoscale fat droplets. Humans have consumed these particles in foods throughout evolution without evidence of adverse health effects related to the nanoscale size of the materials. 

Regulation 

Infant formula sold in Australia and New Zealand must meet stringent requirements set out in an infant formula standard in the Food Standards Code. This is one of the most comprehensive standards in the Code, and is enforced by relevant national, state and territory authorities. FSANZ is not an enforcement authority.
 
Any new food manufactured using nanotechnologies that may present safety concerns will have to undergo a comprehensive scientific safety assessment before it can be legally supplied in Australia or New Zealand.
 
FSANZ monitors local and international research and reports about commercialisation of manufactured nanomaterials relevant to food. We’ve also been researching the use of manufactured nano materials for several years. 
 
If changes to our processes were required as the result of any new evidence we would make those changes.  

 

Read more about nanotechnology in food

 

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