Last week my daughter and I had the pleasure of having a sumptuous dessert at a new yogurt shop, Orange Leaf, in Timberlyne Shopping Center in Chapel Hill. It is all self-serve, with an amazing variety of possibilities. Different flavors of yogurt as well as terrific toppings are displayed, one of which caught my eye….they are called “jelly pebbles” and as you pop them into your mouth, we were told that a burst of wonderful flavor would emerge. They looked like beautiful jewels in the bowl. At first I even thought they resembled fish eggs! My daughter tried them…..I did not. Her decision paid off….they were delicious! I stuck to the traditional fresh fruit toppings, hesitant to try something new. Perhaps next time!
I thought of this food adventure as I stumbled upon a blog called La Marguerite, A Girl’s view of Sustainability and Social Media, discussing the topic of Nanoparticles in Our Food. She had become outraged after reading a report by Friends of the Earth, “Out of the Laboratory and onto our Plates: Nanotechnolgy in Food & Agriculture.” Never having heard of that term, I decided to check it out for myself. I found it rather shocking that this technology is so untested and not very well researched, yet is used for such things as more potent food colorings, flavorings, nutritional additives, even food packaging. The packaging surrounding your crackers can contain this in it. For a list of well known companies which are actively engaged in this nanofood technology check out La Marguerite’s post.
I began to learn more about “Nanofood” by googling this strange new word. I was amazed too at what I found. Apparently, nano particles (less than the size of a virus – extremely tiny!) have the unique ability to cross the body’s natural barriers, entering into cells or through the liver into the bloodstream or even through the cell surrounding the brain. This was not sounding too promising.
‘I’d like to drink a glass of water and know that the contents are going into my stomach and not into my lungs,’ says Dr Qasim Chaudhry of the British government’s Central Science Laboratory. ‘We are giving very toxic chemicals the ability to cross cell membranes, to go where they’ve never gone before. Where will they end up? It has been shown that free nano-particles inhaled can go straight to the brain. There’s lots of concerns. We have to ask – do the benefits outweigh the risks?’
The comments on La Marguerite’s post were very informative. I learned a a great deal from just reading their understanding of the subject and some of the links they provided on the subject as well. I loved one comment by Meryn Stol who quoted from Micheal Pollan, author of The Omniovore’s Dilemma, The Secrets Behind What You Eat….Eat food. Not too much. Mostly Plants.
Gave me food for thought about the subject. I did check out the nutrition information about that yummy yogurt shop that we went to. Their site did stress high nutrition standards, so I don’t think we encountered those nanoparticles there! I will continue to make my food choices to be fresher, more local and stay away from as much processed foods as possible. How about you? Have you had any experiences with this new food technology? Would love to learn as much as I can about the subject!