Nanotechnology in Food

Topics: Nanotechnology, Food, Food industry Pages: 17 (7304 words) Published: September 28, 2012
Most of the time when we go to the grocery store and pick out our food, we aren’t thinking about the type of packing our food in contained in. We’ve become so accustomed to watching the label and expiration dates of a product that some people put as much faith into it as the look of the food itself. Heck, you can’t even look at some food until you get it home and open it. However, most types of food in that opaque packaging generally have a wide berth of days between when you pick it up, and when it expires. Our poultry and meats generally require more care than a bunch of Cheez-Its when it comes to packaging them safely. Despite the tough plastic wrap, absorbent Styrofoam, and a constantly cool temperature, poultry and meats still don’t have as long a shelf life as most other products in the store. In this modern, new technologies are being born every day that help solve seemingly menial problems such as the preservation and protection of our food. Nanotechnology is a new technology that hasn’t quite grasped the mainstream market. Now, researchers are arguing the pros and cons of using nanotechnology in our food packaging. Some of them say nanotech can greatly improve the shelf life of a quickly perishable food. Others say nanotech hasn’t been fully researched, and the potential side effects are still unknown. This research paper is dedicated to informing you of our research on using nanotechnology in food packaging so that an opinion may be reached by the reader, without them being exposed to a biased report.

What is Nanotechnology and what impact does it have on food? Around the world there is an increase in interest in our food, health and environment. Where are products produced, how, why, by whom, how far have they travelled, how long have they been stored are many of the questions surrounding the production, packaging and storage of the fool we consumer around the world on a daily basis. From the root of these questions a new type of technology that can provide the answers has emerged over the past 20 year- Nanotechnology. Following on from genetic engineering, nanotechnology represents the latest high technology attempt to infiltrate our food supply so that production and packaging are both increased in large amount of numbers. Nanotechnology embodies the dream that scientists can remake the world from the atom up, using atomic level manipulation to transform and construct a wide range of new materials, devices, living organisms and technological systems. Because of the many benefits it provides when it comes to food sources and packaging, Nanotechnology is critical for our food supply in the future. Nanotechnology is a powerful new technology for taking apart and reconstructing nature at the atomic and molecular level. Much like other general technologies including biotechnology and information technology, nanotechnology is integrated in a larger technological system or product. This is the high technology, atomically processed antithesis to organic agriculture, which values the natural health-giving properties of fresh, unprocessed whole foods. It further transforms the farm into an automated extension of the high technology factory production line, using patented products that will inevitably concentrate corporate control. (Miller, 2008) The altered properties of nanoparticles have created the possibility for many new profitable products and applications. Engineered nanoparticles are used in literally hundreds of products that are already available on supermarket shelves – including transparent sunscreens, light-diffracting cosmetics, penetration enhanced moisturizers, stain and odor repellent fabrics, dirt repellent coatings, long lasting paints and furniture varnishes, and even some food products. (National Academies Press, 2009) According to a definition in a recent report food is “nanofood” when nanoparticles, nanotechnology techniques or tools are used during cultivation,...

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