24 Nov 2022 REPORT

FAO review on Microplastics in Food Commodities raises awareness about MNP pollution and potential public health concerns

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations recently published a review on human exposure to microplastics via dietary sources.

With their recently published report “Microplastics in Food Commodities - A Food Safety Review on Human Exposure through Dietary Sources”, the UN agency raises awareness about the problem of microplastics pollution, the ingestion of microplastics via our food chain and its possible effects on human health. Their report reviews the existing literature on microplastics and their associated contaminants in foods. “It estimates the dietary exposure of consumers to these materials, highlights some knowledge gaps with respect to their relevance to public health, and offers some recommendations for future work on microplastic particles to support food safety governance.”

Concerns about the potential negative public health impact of exposure to microplastics stem from various factors, including the toxicity of some components of plastic polymers or the potential of plastic surfaces to sorb and concentrate contaminants from the surrounding environment.  In spite of this, the report concludes that no definite answers have been found yet because of a lack of sufficient data and standardized analytical methods.  

IMPTOX in collaboration with its CUSP sister projects is working hard on setting up standard protocols for micro- and nanoplastics research so that future results will be comparable. The five CUSP projects cooperate in six working groups, sharing data, comparing approaches, assessing the exposure to MNPs and their risks.

Click here to find out more about Imptox’s participation in the European research cluster to understand the health impacts of micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) or browse the latest CUSP newsletter for updates.

Garrido Gamarro, E. & Costanzo, V. 2022. Microplastics in food commodities – A food safety review on human exposure through dietary sources. Food Safety and Quality Series No. 18. Rome, FAO.