Consumers’ Health and Safety in Relation to the Use of Nanotechnology in Food: Challenges and Perspectives From the Humanities and Social Sciences

Wilson Engelmann, Sandrine Gaymard


Nanotechnologies, which are a diverse set of technologies using the nanoscale equivalent to a billionth of a meter, enable the development of products with new features and functionalities. Among these there is the use of zinc nanoparticles in the food industry for the production of plastic containers and packaging to protect and transport food. There is scientific uncertainty about the safety of such use (avoiding food contamination for example), especially in regard to the coefficient of migration of the particles to the protected or transported food. There is no specific legislative regulatory framework, although in many countries there are standards from government agencies, signaling a new regulatory production without passing through conventional legislative process. Starting from a comprehensive approach to some articles of the Consumer Protection Code, the aim of this article is to devise regulatory options for structuring the “right to information” and the “duty to inform” under the “right to know” in a perspective of prevention and precaution.


Nanotechnologies; Risks; Zinc nanoparticles; Regulatory frameworks; Consumer law; Prevention; Precaution; Damage law

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