FAO review raises awareness about MNP pollution and potential public health concerns

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations publishes a review on human exposure to micro- and nanoplastic (MNP) via dietary sources; finds that lack of sufficient data and standardized analytical methods preventing conclusive answers on potential health impacts

With their recently published report “Microplastics in Food Commodities – A Food Safety Review on Human Exposure through Dietary Sources”, the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) raises awareness about the problem of microplastics pollution, the ingestion of microplastics via our food chain, and its possible effects on human health. The 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 impacts of exposure to microplastics stem from various factors, including the toxicity of some components of plastic polymers and 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 yet been found because of a lack of sufficient data and standardized analytical methods.

The five CUSP projects are working to set up standard protocols for micro- and nanoplastics research so that future results will be comparable. Within CUSP, six inter-project working groups are collaborating to share data, compare approaches, and assess the exposure to MNPs and the resulting risks.

Learn more about CUSP’s research to better understand the potential health impacts of micro- and nanoplastics (MNPs) by browsing 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. DOI: 10.4060/cc2392en

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