The existence of nanoparticles has been identified but they are not declared on food labels in France

Certain foods contain nanoparticles, but their absence on labelling does not comply with European regulations.

Until now, consumers have had no way of telling if the foodstuffs they have been buying do or do not contain nanoparticles. Several censuses exist of foods containing nanoparticles, but these lists are relatively unreliable because they are based on unverified hypotheses about the composition of the products. 

A number of American, Australian, and Dutch scientists have demonstrated that nanoparticles are present in foods such as chewing gum, sweets, and bars of chocolate. 

This time, the French environmental association ‘Agir pour l’environnement’ had tests conducted on four products by the French National Laboratory of Metrology and Testing (LNE). The four products in question contain titanium dioxide and silicon dioxide nanoparticles. The study revealed that information about the nano-size of the particles does not circulate in the agri-food industry chain. Indeed, according to European regulations, the term (nano) should be declared on the label alongside the additive code. The quantities detected are small, but combined with those present in other products they may become less negligible. In fact, nanoparticles are capable of penetrating physiological barriers, accumulating in the human body, and having toxic effects. 

Furthermore, incorporating nanoparticles in foodstuffs cannot be justified, as their only purpose is to make the product’s colour or texture more attractive. 

Until recently, the methods and tools for conducting these kinds of tests were insufficient. A laboratory such as the LNE currently has protocols to detect nanoparticles in complex foodstuffs, whereas previously these tests could only be conducted on isolated ingredients. 

Although the manufacturers of nanoparticles do not provide the agri-food industry with information about the nanometric characteristics of the ingredients used in foods, the industry is now able to have the additives verified and their presence made more transparent before they are integrated into the various products. 


  • VeilleNanos (15-06-2016)
  • LNE report – File P156452 – Document DMSI/1