Nanotechnology for Food Applications: More Questions Than Answers


  • The views expressed here are those of the author and may not be attributed to the Economic Research Service, or the US Department of Agriculture.


This article highlights the scientific evidence to date on a variety of nanotechnology issues important to consumers with a focus on food applications. Nanotechnology is technology at the atomic or macromolecular levels on the scale of approximately 1–100 nm. There are unlimited potential applications of nanotechnology for food, dietary supplements and food contact materials. However, there are more questions than answers about the safety risks of nanotechnology, its environmental, health and other impacts, and its costs and benefits. Benefits and costs will likely be specific to the nanomaterials used, the application and other conditions (e.g., temperature).