Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version


Document Type



Cornhusker Economics (February 20, 2013)


Published by University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension, Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics. Copyright © [2013] Board of Regents, University of Nebraska.


If you are not quite sure what a nanofood is, you are not alone. The majority of the public in the United States is still uninformed about nanotechnology and its applications to the food sector. According to a commonly used definition, a nanofood is food that has been cultivated, produced, processed or packaged using nanotechnology techniques/tools or to which engineered nanomaterials have been added (Sekhon 2010).1 Food nanotechnology has the potential to increase the supply, quality and safety of food. Applications include the use of nanosensors for monitoring crop growth, pest control and plant and animal diseases; additives and ingredients that enable changes in food texture, taste, processability and quality; and packaging material that release preservatives to extend food life and improve food safety by signaling whether food is contaminated or spoiled. While the potential benefits of food nanotechnology can be immense, its potential risks, which include the potential toxicity of nanoparticles, are not well understood.