Measurement of Nanomaterials in Foods: Integrative Consideration of Challenges and Future Prospects
Christopher W. Szakal, Steve Roberts, Paul Westerhoff, Andrew Bartholomaeus, Neil Buck, Ian Illuminato, Richard Canady, Michael Rogers
Risks and benefits of nanomaterials related to food receive conflicting attention in news media, research, and across expert stakeholder groups internationally. Current nanomaterial analysis is complicated by broad definitions that include traditional food processing and additive materials, and by lack of accepted approaches to measure the exposure-relevant occurrence of suspected nanomaterials in food. As a fundamental step to improve understanding of risk and benefit, we need analytical approaches to identify what materials, new or traditional, are nanorelevant with respect to biological interaction and/or uptake during alimentary tract transit. Challenges to such approaches can include heterogeneity in nanomaterial composition and morphology, food matrix complexity, alimentary tract diversity, and analytical method limitations. Considering these and other challenges, to enable an understanding of fate to facilitate the assessment of safety or benefit, clear problem formulation is required that should result in selection of an appropriate measurement approach including sampling strategy with respect to food production/consumption and alimentary tract transit. As such, we discuss critical knowledge gaps that must be addressed so that measurement methods can better inform risk management and public policy.