The New York Times has published an article citing a report that indicates that many companies do not wish to acknowledge that there are nano-particles in their food products, nor pledge to keep their foods free from such molecules.

Nano-particles are small molecules that have shapes that are not usually seen in nature and that scientists are just beginning to understand their full consumer and scientific potential.

These nano-molecules can enter the food chain through food packaging and certain food products, but many companies fail to acknowledge using them even though research indicates that they may be harmful for human health.  According the report "As You Sow," many companies don't even know if their food products contain these potentially harmful nano-materials.

Studies have found that these small scale materials may be harmful in living mice and in cultured cells in a laboratory setting and are ubiquitius in consumer products. They have been see in in the blood after they have been breathed in, or ingested and can infiltrate areas of the body usually not permeable to molecules, such as the brain.

Out of 2,500 companies that were analyzed in the study, only 26 companies, including Whole Foods and Pepsi Co. responded to a survey from the non-profit.

 The EU requires food products to be labeled if they contain nano-molecules while the United States Environmental Protection Agency is still evaluating the use of such particles in consumer products such as sunscreen.  Sunscreen uses titanium dioxide, commonly used in food products, and singled out for being a potential problem in the report.

Last year the FDA released a statement that indicated that it had yet to evaluate the full danger or safety of nano-particles in the food chain.

According the a description of the report : "The majority of food companies have not been responsive in providing information about their specific uses, plans, and policies on this topic and no U.S. laws require disclosure. In addition, there are few, if any, studies adequately demonstrating the safety of nanoparticles in food additives or packaging. In fact, scientists are still investigating how the broad range of nanoparticles, with their myriad potential uses, will react in the body and what the appropriate testing methodologies are to determine this."

As these molecules are found more in the food chain and are known to have ill health effects, is our food chain safe? 

The original report from As You Sow can be found here.