The Impact of Nano-Scale Technologies on Food and Agriculture

, the manipulation of matter at the scale of atoms and molecules (a nanometer [nm] is one-billionth of a meter), is rapidly converging with biotech and information technology to radically change food and agricultural systems. Over the next two decades, the impacts of nano-scale convergence on farmers and food will exceed that of farm mechanisation or of the Green Revolution. Converging technologies could reinvigorate the battered agrochemical and agbiotech industries, igniting a still more intense debate - this time over "atomicallymodified" foods. No government has developed a regulatory regime that addresses the nanoscale or the societal impacts of the invisibly small. A handful of food and nutrition products containing invisible, unlabeled and unregulated nano-scale additives are already commercially available. Likewise, a number of pesticides formulated at the nano-scale are on the market and have been released in the environment.

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