… whatever these foods might be called in the end, if they ever have to disclose their new ‘secret’ modern ingredients …
… and just in case you’d need another reason to stick to certified organic pet foods:
Nanofoods are coming to a pet supply store close to you!
The use of nanoparticles in foods, food packaging or contact materials, and agrochemicals is regulated in the US by the FDA and the EPA, respectively. Neither the FDA nor the EPA have recognized nanoparticles as new chemicals; both agencies haven’t yet required appropriate labeling or regulatory oversight over nanoparticle-containing products.
It is almost guaranteed that pet foods will be (or maybe they already are? …there doesn’t seem to exist much transparency in nanotechnology-using industries….) among the first food applications for this novel technology that might change natural foods as we know them and evolved with.
Several big food manufacturing companies that also produce pet foods are apparently already exploring the usefulness of this new technology. It is known that some nanofoods are already on some countries’ markets, and that nanoparticles are already used in some food additives, nutraceuticals, beverage and food packaging, food contact materials, kitchen gadgets, common household products, vitamin and mineral supplements, soil additives (such as moisture retaining compounds), and agricultural chemicals.
Since regulations for pet foods are traditionally much laxer than those for foods for human consumption (with the unique exception of certified organic pet foods!), it is a fair bet that livestock and pets will be (or maybe already are?) among the first recipients of the, most likely very questionable, benefits of these novel food products or food supplements.
Organic certification is the most comprehensive way to assure that pet food isn’t adulterated with synthetics (including GMO). It is therefore a sure bet that nanotechnology applications, when they finally openly and traceably arrive as potential food ingredients or food additives, will be banned from certified organic pet foods (and/or so I hope!).
You can read more about nanotechnology here, here, here, here, here, and at many other places.
What’s the big deal? Nanoparticles are tiny, so how can they hurt us or our beloved pets? Well, due to their size, these particles are easily being taken up into our bodies even if the application would not ask for this effect.
Nanoparticles and Health
Here are some of the toxic effects of nanomaterials as determined in pathological studies as well as experimental cell and animal models: DNA damage in human skin cells; mitochondrial damage; disruption of cell function of skin, immune, or lung cells; liver, heart, spleen, and kidney lesions; a variety of ‘nanopathologies’ including cancer and inflammation due to the accumulation of nanoparticles. However, so far no long-term studies on the effects, toxicity, or safety of nanomaterials seem to be available.
What can you to do?
The best we can do is to educate ourselves to be prepared to recognize, avoid, or hopefully even fight nanofoods, nanopetfoods, or other nanoparticle-containing products from entering our and our pets’ food dishes, skin, water, and bodies. The least we can do is to ask our governments to protect us, our pets, wildlife, resources, and environment, with appropriate regulations, oversight, and transparency (including requiring product labeling) regarding nanotechnology.
The more we know, the better we can protect the health of ourselves, our pets, and our environment.
P.S.: You may very well already have a pet product with nanotechnology at home….
Water- or spill resistant, self-cleaning dog and cat beds, often with antibacterial properties are highly praised as new convenient products (with the word ‘natural’ included in the marketing materials…).
As mentioned before, little is known about how products with nanoparticles affects health, so I personally would refrain from the temptation to expose our pets to any of such materials.
If you have a dog or cat that has ‘accidents,’ or if your dog’s bedding and your dog have excessive odors, wouldn’t it be better to solve the underlying problem, instead of choosing an easy, convenient, but perhaps hazardous product that allows you to continue to conveniently live with the problem?
Considering how much time a pet can spend sleeping,relaxing, and eating on its bed, I am wondering, how much of the surface material will be inhaled, absorbed, or ingested…
Concerning the antibacterial (odor-controlling) properties of such products, I would like to know how many additional preventative antibiotics we really need to share with our pets and our environment. If pets (and your family) inhale some of the nanoparticles plus antibiotics as the material ages, how healthy can it be?
Just one more point about safety: How safe for the environment and workers is the manufacture of these materials, and what will happen to our soil, water, and air, when they eventually enter the landfill?