In some uses such as in cancer treatments, this technology may become a tremendous thing. E.g. in comparison to conventional chemotherapy treatments that obviously cause immense damage to other parts of the body, nanotechnology may allow the damage to be much more localised. The problem will be when nanotechnology is used in things like sunscreens and more particularly in foods (in fact, there are a number of unlabelled sunscreens and food products already using nano technology).
In 2003 Nobel-prize-winning nanoscientist Richard Smalley summed it beautifully when rejecting the supposed parallels between genetically engineered foods and nanotechnology. He said, “After all, we’re not advising that you eat nano stuff”. But you may be soon enough.
Friends of the Earth have outlined some of the ways this technology is being worked on right now.
Examples of Nanotechnology and Food:
‘Smart’ packaging (containing nanosensors and anti-microbial activators) are being developed to further extend the shelf-life of food. ‘Medically beneficial’ nanocapsules will soon enable chocolate chip cookies or tomato sauce to be marketed as health promoting.
Companies such as Kraft and Nestlé are designing ‘smart’ foods that interact with consumers to ‘personalise’ food, changing colour, flavour or nutrients on demand. ‘Smart’foods would sense when an individual was allergic to a food’s ingredients, and block the offending ingredient. ‘Smart’ packaging could release a dose of calcium molecules to people suffering from osteoporosis. Kraft is developing a clear tasteless drink that contains hundreds of flavours in latent nanocapsules.
Senior food technologists at companies such as DuPont Food Industry Solutions are advocating that we scrap inefficient natural production systems altogether and embrace the future of nano-scale robot created food: “Instead of harvesting grain and cattle for carbohydrates and protein, nanobots could assemble the desired steak or flour from carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms present in the air as water and carbon dioxide”.
GIVE ME A BREAK!!! Inefficient natural production systems. Are they talking about the ones that have fed human kind for generation after generation since the dawn of time? Hmmm, I think Du Pont and others smell BIG MONEY in their supposedly more intelligent foods.
Anyway, you will probably first hear about nanotechnology from supplement or food manufacturing companies that will try to argue that because they can get certain vitamins, minerals or antioxidants directly into your cells in more concentrated forms that you are better off.
However, I suggest you beware. Mother Nature doesn’t work this way. More is not always better. There is a holistic, synergistic intelligence that runs your body and there are a myriad of interconnected and complementing functions that occurs to create balance. Not only in the cells and tissues that science wants to target but in your body as a whole.
When you start isolating certain cells, tissues or molecules and taking in concentrated forms of nutrition, you not only set yourself up for localised toxic effects but also disturb the overall synergistic functioning of your body overall. This can lead to subtle yet dangerous imbalances over the longer term (that science won’t associate with the initial disturbance you created from the totally unnatural foodstuff).
There will be more to come on this. Do your own research but consult your own inner wisdom. Wherever possible, get your nutrition through Mother Nature’s natural, whole foods, as she intended. Keep supplements to a minimum, especially unnatural supplements that sabotage the holistic intelligence of your precious body.
* Friends of the Earth points are at https://nano.foe.org.au/node/98