Nanomaterials in agriculture and food are key issues of public and regulatory interest. Over the past ten years,
patents for nanotechnological applications in the field of food and agriculture have become abundant. Uncertainty prevails
however regarding their current development status and presence in the consumer market. Thus, the discussion on
nanotechnologies in the food sector with its specific public perception of benefits and risks and the patterns of communication
are becoming similar to the debate on genetically modified organisms. The food industry’s silence in communication
increased mistrust of consumer organisations and policy makers. The article discusses the background of the current
regulatory debates, starting with the EU recommendation for defining nanomaterials, provides an overview of possible
fields of application in agriculture and food industries and discusses risk assessment and the public debate on benefits and
risks. Communicative recommendations are directed at researchers, the food industry and regulators in order to increase
trust both in stakeholders, risk management and regulatory processes.
Keywords: Amorphous silica, dietary products, definition, encapsulated systems, food additives, food contact materials, nanomaterials in agriculture and food, nanocomposites, novel food, public perception, pesticides, risk assessment, trust, titanium dioxide.
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