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The measurement of food safety and security risks associated with MNP pollution

Article written by: Joost L.D. Nelis, Veronika J. Schacht, Amanda L. Dawson, Utpal Bose, Aristeidis S. Tsagkaris, Darina Dvorakova, David J. Beale, Ali Can, Christopher T. Elliott, Kevin V. Thomas, James A. Broadbent

Abstract: Agricultural systems are increasingly impacted by micro- and nanoplastic (MNP) pollution raising concerns for food safety and security. To understand the scale of the problem and develop mitigation strategies, there is a need to characterise the effects and impacts of MNP. Here, we discuss the main MNP entry pathways into the human food chain and their effects/impact on food and feed sources, identifying major research gaps hindering robust risk assessments of MNP pollution. We identified emerging and current analytical methods to facilitate the closing of those gaps. An interdisciplinary approach combining omics strategies with novel methods for fast and reliable MNP measurement and plastic additive leaching characterisation across multiple dynamic environments can accurately quantify MNP pollution risks. Data of this type is essential to support policy development and legislation to prevent further MNP pollution from causing food safety and security problems worldwide.

Keywords: Microplastics; Nanoplastics; Food safety; Food security; Plastic additives; Plastisphere; Plastic pollution


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