Molecule-size particles are entering the food chain through processed foods and their packaging. Nanotechnology can help make products creamier without additional fat, as well as intensify and improve flavors and brighten colors.

Their small size allows nanoparticles to go places in the body that larger particles can’t reach–they even enter our cells (the Environmental Protection Agency is evaluating nanoparticles used in sunscreens). In April, the Food and Drug Administration issued an warning about them, saying it did not have enough data to assume they are safe in food.

They’ve been found in people’s blood streams after eating the food or inhaling its smell. Not much study has been done about this on humans, but the particles seem to have bad effect on mice.

Some companies don’t seem to realize that the nanomaterials are there.

Only 26 out of 2,500 companies, including PepsiCo, Whole Foods and the corporate parent of Pizza Hut and Taco Bell, responded to a survey from "As You Sow" about their use of these materials.

In the February 5th edition of the New York Times, Stephanie Strom quotes Andy Behar of As You Sow as saying, "Only 14 said they don’t use nanomaterials, and of those only two had any policies on the use of nanomaterials."

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