IFT Comments to FDA on Nanotechnology

April 16, 2008

Institute of Food Technologists
Comment on
Consideration of FDA-Regulated Products That May Contain
Nanoscale Materials; Public Meeting
Docket No. FDA-2008-N-0416

The Institute of Food Technologists, IFT, commends the Food and Drug Administration for holding this public meeting on “Considerations of FDA-Regulated Products that may Contain Nanoscale Materials”.

Founded in 1939, IFT, the society for food science and technology, is a non-for-profit international scientific and educational society with 22,000 members working in food science, food technology, and related professions in industry, academia, and government. IFT’s vision is a safe and abundant food supply contributing to healthier people everywhere. A critical part of our mission is advancing food science and technology, in which we share a common commitment with the Food and Drug Administration in promoting food quality and safety. Therefore, we are pleased to offer comments specifically focused on the regulation of food and food-related materials such as food packaging that may contain nanoscale materials.

In 2006, IFT established the Nanoscience Initiative in recognition of the importance of nanoscale science, engineering and technology, or nanotechnology, in food. IFT’s Nanoscience Initiative is guided by a Nanoscience Advisory Panel, which serves as a leader and catalyst for the community of researchers exploring the impact of nanoscience and nanotechnology on food. Members of this panel include IFT members affiliated with the food industry, academia and the U.S. Dept. Agriculture. The goal of the Advisory Panel is to facilitate the acquisition, generation, and communication of technical and safety developments of nanoscale materials for food applications to: · advance the pursuit of scientific endeavors · encourage collaboration among organizations with interest in food nanoscience; and · influence regulatory agencies, consumers, and the general public’s decision making regarding nanoscience and food.

IFT, the North American branch of the International Life Science Institute (ILSI-NA), and the Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL) of the National Cancer Institute have established a partnership to prepare a Comprehensive Review on “Applications and Safety Implications of Nanoscale Science and Technology in Food”. The goal is to identify key data gaps and to develop a Research Roadmap to facilitate design of research to address the data gaps. We are very pleased to acknowledge the support of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (FDA-CFSAN) towards a multi-institutional effort to promote research into safety evaluation of nanomaterials for use in food and food-related products. IFT is grateful to the Agency for supporting and advising the partnership. Other international agencies and organizations addressing the safety of nanomaterials for food use are also involved as advisors to this effort.

The Review /Research Roadmap report will provide a comprehensive, concise and systematic review of the state of nanoscale science and technology as it relates to the food and food-related industries, including a summary of potential applications and a detailed review of the existing research on the safety of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies with food-related uses. The document will focus on safety evaluation of nanomaterials, as relevant to the food and food-related industries. The document will serve as a knowledge base on which all stakeholders, including the food industry, regulatory agencies, and academic research institutions, may make informed decisions about nanotechnology for the ultimate benefit of consumers.

In conclusion, IFT strongly encourages the FDA to: · continue support for this IFT/ILSI-NA/NCL on-going collaborative effort, · enhance collaborative efforts within and among other agencies, including those at the state and international level, and with academia and industry, · promote information exchange and leverage efforts to further the understanding of this new technology, and inform policy decisions · support science-based legislation, and to · make science-based policy decisions.

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