The controversy over genetically-modified food is becoming a thing of the past. The new controversy is over nano food.

Many new kinds of food?for both humans and animals?will be coming out soon, all based on nanotechnology. Examples are a super nutritious chocolate milkshake (which isn’t needed in the West, where we all get plenty to eat) and chicken feed that removed dangerous bacteria from poultry. Since most chickens produced in the US are infected with salmonella, this could be important. But is nano food dangerous?

Nano foods are created with tiny building blocks only billionths of a meter (or nanometers) in size. In this micro size, substances can act very differently than they do in their macro (larger) form. Biochemists Jennifer Kuzma and Peter VerHage analyzed federally funded nano foods projects and discovered that the government spends $1.2 billion every year on this research. They discovered 160 nano food projects, most of which will be on our grocery shelves within the next 5-15 years. Naontechnology is not only about the food itself: there is a project that is trying to create food wrappers that can tell whether or not the food inside is safe to eat. Other food wrappers cause fruit and vegetables to ripen more quickly (although placing them in a paper or plastic bag, which traps the gases they give off, will produce the same results).

In, Charles Q. Choi quotes Kuzma as saying, “I don’t know whether that’s a good idea or not. That’s the point. We don’t have enough information as a society to decide that.”

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