It’s common these days to be suspicious of some of the additives put into our food. Mostly though, these are regulated by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) who oversee what is safe for our manufacturers to use.
However, there is one new additive that has flown under their radar: nanoparticles.
These are additives that are so tiny that one nanoparticle is 10,000 times tinier than a human hair. A recent study of 14 foods found nanoparticles in all of them, from lollies to sauces. The most common are nano titanium dioxide, which is a whitening agent used in items ranging from chewing gum to toothpaste; and nano silica, an anti-caking agent which stops foods clumping and is found in packet mixes, spices, and even tablets and some vitamin supplements.
In their non-nano form, both of these additives are approved by FSANZ. But when a particle is so tiny that it can pass through cell walls, it may behave differently, and possibly have an effect on our organs, tissues and cells – even our DNA – that we have yet to discover, say those who are concerned about its non-regulated use in our food.
Want to know more? See the February issue of Healthy Food Guide for the low-down on what you should know about nanoparticles.