A mandatory but confidential database of food sector nanotechnology research has been rejected by the government in its response to a report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee.1
The select committee had argued such a database was needed to inform risk assessment and safety research priorities because of a "regrettable" unwillingness to disclose activities from industry (ENDS Report 420, p 50).
But the government argues that a mandatory database, while ensuring information is submitted, could act as a deterrent for those who might research nanotechnologies in food in the UK. It also said new legislation would be required to make it mandatory.
Industry stakeholders are thought to be keen to alleviate concerns over secrecy but are concerned about sharing early research and development information, even though the proposed database would have been confidential.
The government response to the select committee report remains largely unchanged compared to an earlier draft (ENDS Report 422, p 29).
It says nanotechnologies in food will be added to Food Standards Agency (FSA) work. This section was called ‘weak’ in a drafting note but has not been altered.
The FSA will create a public register of approved food products or packaging containing nanomaterials.