Nanotechnology: New Threat to Organic Foods

May 18, 2010
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moleculeNanotechnology, the process of manipulating matter at the atomic and molecular level, has no place in organic food. Like genetic modification, it is the antithesis of the organic concept.

Our friends at the Organic Consumers Union and others recently asked that the United States National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) of the U.S. Department of Agriculture formally prohibit the use of nanotechnology in organic food production. The NOSB member from General Mills sought to delay the process by demanding that a technical definition of the term be developed. The committee then responded by requesting a technical and scientific review of the issue.

Canada has already acted. It recently amended its national organic rules to ban nanotechnology in food production as a “Prohibited Substance or Method.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is hearing from large food companies on this issue, and has a record of siding with industry against consumers, as some of our earlier stories have shown.  It is important that we let USDA know that consumers care deeply about maintaining and preserving real organic standards.

[Note: At press time, this article included an Action Alert to contact the NOSB. The NOSB is no longer accepting comments on this issue, so we have removed the Action Alert.]

156 Responses to “Nanotechnology: New Threat to Organic Foods”

  1. Paul Turner says:

    Thank you for posting this. Adding nanoparticles to our food is a big sleeper.

    The Rockefeller Foundation feels it important to make sure good PR goes out and not suffer the same bad PR as Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO), which are unlabeled in the United States.

    Many people do not realize the potential to have programmable organisms inside their body much less the effect of having those substances in their body.

    Do we really want the large food corps sneaking nanoparticles into our food?

       1 likes

  2. DD says:

    I do not want nanotechnology in any of my food, whether organic or not. I also so not want any genetically modified food. Is this the way our government plans to kill off the majority of the world’s population as they think we are overpopulated, and our earth can’t sustain us?

    I have a wonderful idea. I think all the top executives in all our large corporations that are currently using or want to start using nanotechnology in the organic food or non-organic food production process; all the members of NOSB in the US Department of Agriculture; as well as our government leaders and congressmen who think we should use nanotechnology (the process of manipulating matter at the atomic and molecular level), and have voted to initiate it’s use, along with all of their family members, should be the ones willing to be in a clinical study, eating these treated foods on a daily basis for the next 50 years. At the end of the 50 years, if they have all gotten sick or died, then we will know for sure that we were right and nanotechnology should never be used on any of our food!

       2 likes

  3. Russ Hailey says:

    5/31/10 todays headline in the Oregonian newspaper…
    One-size-fits-all reforms may not fit small farmers.
    Regarding the Food Safety Modernization act.
    another former Conspiracy theory, now conspiracy fact. It has gotten to the point that EVERYTHING coming from the mouth of the Governmant is a complete and utter falsehood.
    Having lived here in the U.S. my entire life, serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for four years, I have to say that I am ready to leave this country. If only there were somewhere to escape to…..
    Maybe instead, we need to go after the filthy people behind the big corporations.
    Too big to fail means TOO DAMN BIG! Where are the antimonopoly laws.
    They seem to uphold “little people” laws, but laws for our safety are simply not being upheld or enforced. The government does’nt work! It should be dismantled or destroyed.
    And world government? Wow! The Federal government works so well, I can’t wait until they add more layers of red tape and buracracy. It appears that mankind is his own worst enemy.
    The never ending race for control will be the downfall of us all.

       1 likes

  4. Ann Curtis says:

    Over at the NaturalNews.com WebSite, I read that there are already 80+ foods that have nanotechnology incorporated into them. Why are we not told/don’t know this? They feel that if the American public is made aware that nanotechnology is already inside their food stuffs, that we will boycott/be upset, like we already are with GMO food products.

    Gee. I don’t know. My upset? Nah. I’m just livid!

       1 likes

  5. Marie Loren says:

    As with all “expert scientific data ” question, “who is going to profit from this information?”
    Our “government” is only existing to give us the illusion that we have a Democracy…the corporations that own Congress, the Judicial System and the Presidency are the rulers of this consumer society. Profit before people is the rule…shareholders need to see profits.
    So it is no surprise that nanotechnology in food is being sold to the public as being safe .
    GROW YOUR OWN or KNOW YOUR FARMER and EAT LOCALLY PRODUCED FOODS

       0 likes

  6. B Mustchin says:

    I won’t buy American certified organic or indeed any American food product unless it is guaranteed nano-free.

       0 likes

  7. Melody says:

    First thing: DON’T MESS WITH NATURE!!!!! Nature is trying to repair itself now. Second, why does organic cost more? I would think, because there is no need for pesticides and chemicals, the cost would be lower. Chemicals don’t have to be bought and no one has to be paid to apply them. Besides, look at the health reports showing the known causes of chemicals on the body. What about the UNknown effects? Remember the Vietnam War and “Agent Orange”? Look at the health problems these soldiers and their children are encountering now. Agent Orange was developed to kill foliage in the jungle to expose the enemy and it was developed by an American and ended up in the wrong hands. Talk about friendly fire.In this fight of Man vs. Nature, who do you think will win?

       0 likes

  8. Dimples says:

    Is anyone as tired as I am of “BIG MONEY PEOPLE” continuing to try to push their “JUNK’ down the throats of the American public just in order to make more money?

    How much money is enough? It would seem that at some point these “BUZZARDS” would be satisfied with their multi-billions.
    OHHH! BACK TO REALITY!!!

    They are NOT satisfied and obviously never will be. So, WE, the American Public will need to gather our strength (in numbers) and fight back as never before. After-all, there are more of us than there are of them. Let’s spread the word about these “assults” on our health and then simply REFUSE to buy the “JUNK”!

       0 likes

  9. Laurie says:

    After reading this article, I have no facts on which to base an opinion. I am a huge fan of organic food, locally grown produce, and I also am familiar witrh nanotechnology. This article, however has no substance in which to form any opinion. I am not a sheep..Therefore, this article will elicit no rsponse, either way from me. Please everyone, ask more from your information sources.

       0 likes

    • ANH-USA says:

      Let’s neither wolves nor sheep be. Let’s indeed stick to facts, to logic, and to science.

      First the logic. Organic means, well, organic, made by nature. Nanotechnology has to be the antithesis of organic farming methods. It’s an industrial process that manipulates food at its molecular and atomic levels. This logic prompted the UK, Australia, and Canada to ban the use of manufactured nanomaterials and of nanotechnology in organics.

      Now some facts: The safety of this technology is simply unknown. The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an independent research institute in Washington, DC, expressed concern at the lack of research on safety: “Neither industry nor government appears to be doing its homework. Products could end up in the market without a proper assessment of risk.”

      AOL News recently published a three-part Special Report called “The Nanotech Gamble.” In it, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Andrew Schneider writes that many scientists believe the engineered particles could pose a giant risk to the environment and human life.

      The nanomaterial most widely used in consumer products is nano-titanium dioxide. It’s an ingredient in a number of drugstore items rubbed onto bodies and faces and even put into mouths, among them cosmetics, sunblock, and toothpaste. A UCLA study found that ingesting nanotechnology may damage or destroy DNA and chromosomes as one of the scientists told Schneider.

      But is nanotechnology entering the food chain? Yes. As Schneider reported, some of the FDA’s own risk assessors have stated that nano-containing foods are showing up on grocer’s shelves in a number of products. Schneider also found a US Department of Agriculture scientist who has first-hand knowledge of Latin American food packers dipping US-bound produce in a nanocoating to increase its shelf life. “We found no indication that the nanocoating, which is manufactured in Asia, has ever been tested for health effects,” the researcher says.

      According to Lynn Frewer, professor of food safety at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, “The problem with the digestion of nanoparticles is that we don’t know where in the body they would end up. If they are small enough to travel through the wall of the gut, which some nanoparticles would be designed to do, they could end up anywhere. And how will they accumulate and travel through the food chain? We simply don’t know.”

      As The Guardian reported over two years ago, nanotechnology is already being used to make food look prettier, or ripen faster, or ripen more slowly, or keep bugs off. Food wrappers containing nanoparticles are being developed that can sniff out telltale gases given by deteriorating food, triggering color changes on the labels.

      Logic alone should tell us that nanotechnology has no place in organic food. As for other food, we need credible scientific evidence that firmly establishes safety, something that is not currently available. If you have not already done so, please TAKE ACTION immediately and contact the US Department of Agriculture to say no to nanotechnology in organic food.

         0 likes

  10. Earl says:

    I disagree. I think nanotechnology would be a good thing. We need it medically to heal people. Eventually we will not have enough land to cultivate anything to eat if we as a country do not learn to preserve and find better ways of sustaining ourselves.

       0 likes

  11. Cherie says:

    Our FDA was set up to protect the citizens of this country and others from sloppy (unhealthy) food production, unscrupulous sales practices, and anything else that would cause harm to the food consumers of the world. To date we not only lack these protections, but the FDA has become a law unto itself in that nobody has control over the FDA’s own greedy purposes and practices. We allow self-serving politicians to ‘appoint’ friends and campaign contributors to positions in government that affect our very lives, freedoms, safety, business and properties. And then we wonder why our government leaders are becoming more corrupt with each election and we are having less and less say in what is done. What happened to our Constitutional rights? Everything bad thing happening in this country comes from the ignorance of our rights in the Constitution and in allowing career politicians to dictate their own wills over us because of the money and power they attain from immoral special interest groups.

    Our Constitution, which our elected officials take an oath to protect, serve and enforce, has about as much importance to them as a wart. It’s a part of their body but they will just ignore it or cover it up unless it becomes a nuisance, at which point they will do whatever it takes to get rid of it. Guess what?! They are setting things in motion right now, to ‘finally’ GET RID OF IT. They have been sending subliminal messages for many years now, that our Constitution doesn’t apply to today’s world and we need to be globally connected. What they don’t tell us, is that once we agree to accept a global leadership in “any” area of life, you will no longer have the rights we’ve enjoyed since our founding fathers established them. This current administration, by their actions, have basically told us that WE HAVE NO RIGHTS EXCEPT THE ONES THEY VOTE TO ENACT. It’s time to stop this madness before we truly ‘don’t’ have any rights. BEFORE it’s too late, we must get out and vote. Don’t believe anything a politician tells you, look at their voting records (all available through search engines online). Remember, “Words are powerful… whether lies or truth”. We need to make sure that we’re not being wrongly influenced just because someone can speak eloquently. The future is in OUR hands. If we just sit in front of the TV (boob tube) or spend our free time immersed in personal pleasures, we WILL become the pawns of the power hungry elitists in this world. And the future will not be a pretty picture. For every good scenario the globalist machines hands us, read Orwell, Mao, Mein Kampf and others to see what is really behind the world dominion mind-set.

       0 likes

  12. WH says:

    Posting a comment here is not the same as taking real action. We all need to click on the link above that says ‘TAKE ACTION’ in order to send an email to Agricultural Secretary Vilsack. That’s the only way to let him hear our voices. Thanks.

       0 likes

  13. I believe we now more than ever need to grow our own food get back to basic and stop depending on large corporations to feed us. In order to fight we need to know where our food comes from, organic or not. Support local growing and grow sometning yourself.

       0 likes

  14. Donald Mills says:

    Nanotechnology and organic food ? Balderdash !!!!

       0 likes

  15. Kim says:

    Get this picture and understand it clearly – WE WILL NOT ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. This is a no-brainer. We must tell everyone regardless. TELL everyone and SHOW them how to PUSH Back by writing their Senators! Over half of Americans have never done this! Show them how! Picket these places who want to use nano-technology, write the board members, twitter the names of these places, have a bumper sticker made that says, “just say no to nano and gmo!” Get on the stick, do it now or mother nature will get very jiggy on us very soon.

       0 likes

  16. nanny crosse says:

    Keep up the good fight people. We are worth it.
    Life is a fragile balance between water and air and sunshine.
    simple = healthy

       0 likes

  17. Organic food by definition is food unaltered by any man made process. How arrogant we are that we think we can improve on our Creator. Look at the obesity and poor health epidemic. Realize that this was brought about by people trying to improve on nature. Let’s get it right and stop this madness to ” scientifically improve our foods”. Lets get back to nature.

       0 likes

  18. Lynn Dellapasta says:

    Stop this insanity!!! Quit playing at being God and Mother Nature combined and leave our foods alone, damn it! Grow up and wise up people. Our children’s lives and futures are at stake here.

       0 likes

  19. Maria Bologna says:

    Please leave organic food in its natural form. Do not mix it with anything. Leave seeds the way nature intented it to be.
    Thanks

       0 likes

  20. Barbara Good says:

    We should have a choice about what we eat. Nanotechnology is not something I want in my food supply. Nanotechnology has no place in organic food.

       0 likes

  21. Darlea Henderson says:

    I need to know more what nanotechnology does before I take action. This article does not address the potential problems that nanotechnology engenders

       0 likes

    • I agree. I need to know more about just how nanotechnology will do harm to our food supply.

         0 likes

    • Patti says:

      per Wikipedia.org:

      “Nanotechnology, shortened to “nanotech”, is the study of the controlling of matter on an atomic and molecular scale.”

      You must be one of “them” or you have been sleeping under a rock. Here is a link to wikipedia.org since you cannot even seem to do a web search. What vitamin and other ingredients do you want left OUT of your food?

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanotechnology

         0 likes

  22. Shirine Gharda-Ward says:

    Please keep nanotechnology out of organic food.

       0 likes

  23. Kathy Muck says:

    Ban Nanotechnology in orangic foods.

       0 likes

  24. Garry Reisch says:

    Bottom line: money talks. Also bottom line: votes matter. Let your representative know (and anyone else who will listen) that you believe Organic should mean natural and pure, unadulterated by chemistry of any kind. Let the food “scientists” tinker all they want, but not with the organic label.

       0 likes

  25. Allison Zito says:

    The genetic pollution and Nano pollution of our agriculture serves none of the consumers. In fact it makes unwitting guinea pigs of us all. The only people who benefit are the intellectual property holders and the government representatives they buy. I pray you are not motivated by the massive amount of money they can throw at you. I pray you are motivated by integrity and the importance of keeping the food supply from contamination and free from the intellectual property bonds. This is the most important issue of our time. We are at the threshold. In the name of profit; Will we contaminate the food supply for all life on earth? Don’t let this happen on our watch!

       0 likes

  26. Patricia Gillette says:

    Can’t they leave nature and well enough ALONE!?? First they command us to get heathy- or/ and pay the price – and then they keep us sick (or dead) with this nano thing amongst others – then they badger us to get long term care insurances..and burial plans- sounds like a plan to keep business booming and consumers perpetually sick!

       0 likes

  27. Alfiya Aleeva says:

    I am so angry! Who would stand and eventually scream out of US that all these techno ‘clever’ companies aiming control of population through food acting worse than terrorists. ONE ONLY EXAMPLE========= WHERE ALL THE BEES GONE?????????????? As minimum as 70 percent reduced! When it come to total 100% then these companies will again claim that they are only able to feed population, then catastrophe is there. They are get what they aimed, we will have NO choice to be their slaves-eat what they produced, what they put into the food, what vaccine will we have through the food. HOW THESE WILL NOT YET STOPPED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I t is not long to happen it is already here 30% of BEES!!!!

    PUBLIC SHOULD GO TO STREET GOVERNMENT WORKING TOGETHER because they are talking about NEW WORLD ORDER, only American Government want to dictate and owe the world. THEY are working together, perhaps ordering, financing them to to so as soon as possible as soon as effective. NEW WORLD ORDER. please take an action from spreading this disaster all over the world!!!!!!!!!!!

       0 likes

  28. Deborah Sheehan says:

    Please ban the use of nanotechnology in our organic food products!!!!!!!!!!!!

       0 likes

  29. Barbara Escher says:

    I support the ban on nanotechnology in organic foods – or ANY foods. I don’t want to eat something that grew up in a laboratory. Our society is already suffering hitherto unknown levels of ADD, autism and cancer, which may be related to all the manipulation of food, including pesticides, dyes and chemicals. This would only make it worse.

    Corporations take a short view – immediate profitability to please shareholders and achieve big bonuses for executives. Government needs to take the long view of what is best for the health of its citizens. In this case, an injunction against any use of nanotech while the scientific review proceeds is in the interest of the health of our people.

       0 likes

    • Betty Griffin says:

      I support the ban on nanotechnology, it is time as a nation that we begin to understand the real issues facing the way we protect the best interests of it’s citizens regarding their health. We have the right to eat healthy without the encumbrances imposed by a government or agencies that have no regard for our nutritional benefits. It is time to change the focus from sick care and pills to prevention and wellness care. Get with the program America!

         0 likes

  30. H.G. van der Waals says:

    Nanotechnology is incompatible with organic food production.

       0 likes

  31. Let’s keep Organic ORGANIC! Consumers need to be served, not producers.
    Thank you for your consideration.

    Rosemary Hall

       0 likes

  32. Dennis Handel says:

    To whom it may concearn,
    Please prohibit the use of nanotechnology in organic food production.

    Regards,

    Dennis Handel

       0 likes

  33. Thearle Lacey says:

    Leave our food alone!! You’ve done enough to it to create ill people who then can’t get or lose their insurance or lose their lives. Excuse me…you and the insurance companies got a plot going..you make us sick and they overcharge us?

       0 likes

  34. tomescu teofan emilian says:

    I have no idea why nobody has thought about this before but to my mind the right to chose what you buy or eat is part of those inalianable human rights.We all have the right to consume products that we like but nanotechnology and GMOs prevent us from exercising our fundamental human rights.They must be stopped or prevented from contaminating our food source.It is our right.

       0 likes

  35. Audrey Vincent says:

    Organic foods should not be tampered with, manipulated, violated, or experimented with. Ban nanotechnology from organic foods now. Nothing more needs to be said.

       0 likes

  36. Carl Chase says:

    We are only beginning to realize the dangers involved in using technology that is under tested. Like the failure that GMO Foods is proving to be, Nanotechnology has inherent risks that have not shown themselves.

    We must properly ascertain those risks before allowing the wholesale usage of what could ultimately be our downfall.

    Failing to investigate those risks would be the ultimate crime against Humanity.

    Please use all of your powers to enforce the tightest of control of these processes.

       0 likes

  37. Cory Tye says:

    No Nanotechnology in ORGANIC FOOD! NO NO!

       0 likes

  38. Claudia Aposhian says:

    Please leave our natural organic foods alne!!! God knows how to design our food supply and we DO NOT want nanotechnology to be a part of our food supply!
    Sincerely, Ed and Claudia Aposhian

       0 likes

  39. Gentlemen:

    Nothing can improve “on Nature”

    Only damn “fools” would believe that”

    Obviously there are many “damn fools” out there!

    Maurice Rothman PHd ND MH

       0 likes

  40. Gentlemem:

    Nothing can improve”on Nature”only damn” fools” would believe that”

    maurice rothman, PHd, ND MHB,

       0 likes

  41. Rachel Allen says:

    Please ban the use of nanotechnology in organic food production–we consumers do not want this in our organic foods!

       0 likes

  42. julie ring says:

    To our U.S. Department of Agriculture,

    Do not allow nanotechnology in organic foods. They are perfect as God intended. You need to quit screwing with our food supply.

       0 likes

  43. jim salter says:

    keep naNO’s out of my food and MY body

       0 likes

  44. Barbara Rafter says:

    I vote that the US prohibit the use of nanotechnology in organic food. Why is Canada ahead of us in this. Are they more free of political manipulation of big businesses? Don’t let big business in the food industry or any other industry control organic food standards. My family cares deeply about maintaining and preserving real organic standards in this country.

       0 likes

  45. Richard Carey says:

    PLEASE do not allow Nanotechnology in our food production, and particularly not in our organic foods.

       0 likes

  46. Please keep foods and nanotechnology seperate. We don’t need further messing around with nature.

       0 likes

  47. Sondra Andersen says:

    With what I have thus far learned about nanotechnology thus far, I believe if it has no affirmative good in organic food production, it would be very little and would cause great harm. There must be a good reason why other countries are banning it.

       0 likes

  48. To even consider manipulating our food system with this new nanotechnoloby requires a minimum of thirty years’ study–research on animals, to see where any dangers lie. Who can do such research in an unbiased, ethical manner?

       0 likes

  49. Dr. Nanncy House says:

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a record of siding with industry against consumers. I hope this does not happen (again) in regarding to maintaining real organic standards. Nanotechnology should be banned from the production of organic foods, so that consumers are able to “vote with the pocketbook” in a meaningful way.

       0 likes

  50. Carol Poliner says:

    The USDA needs to protect consumers, not the profits of agribusiness at the expense of public health. Do NOT allow the use of nanotechnology in organic food.

       0 likes

    • pcburke says:

      I agree 200%. The General Public needs to be protected, from processed food. Too many research products show that natural/organic food produces health and welll-being. Why on earth do I need nanobots in my food. For crying out loud. I don’t ansything that will MALFUNCTION

         0 likes

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