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Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies and Grocery Manufacturers Association to Develop Case Studies

The Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (a partnership between the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and The Pew Charitable Trusts) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) today announced that they are jointly sponsoring the development of a series of case studies on the commercialization and regulation of engineered nanoscale materials for food and packaging materials. The case studies will illustrate and critically evaluate the path to commercialization of hypothetical products, focusing on supply chain stewardship and regulatory oversight. They will be developed by technical experts from government, academia, industry, and nongovernmental organizations.

The first case study will focus on a hypothetical nano packaging product, and will be developed under the direction of independent consultant and University of Maryland School of Medicine professor Michael R. Taylor.

“We are very pleased to be working with the Wilson Center on this important project,” said Pat Verduin, senior vice president and chief science officer of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Engineered nanoscale materials could have some very promising applications for our industry, but before we can take advantage of these applications, we must have better insights into the commercialization and regulation of these materials. It is our hope that this joint project with the Wilson Center will allow us to gain some of these insights.”

According to Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies (PEN) director David Rejeski, some experts estimate that the worldwide nanotechnology food market will be $20.4 billion by 2010. The precise figure is unknown, but like other sectors-for example, medicine, energy, and electronics-nanotechnology’s future impact on food and agriculture will be significant. “At this early stage, it is important to look ahead to understand and carefully evaluate the regulatory pathway to commercialization, so that the roles and responsibilities of the regulatory agencies and industry are clearly understood and that the system works well to assure safety,” said Rejeski.

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