There are small, engineered particles in your doughnuts
February 14th, 2013
01:30 PM ET
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Editor's note: Andy Behar is the chief executive of As You Sow, a nonprofit organization that promotes corporate accountability.

Some foods sold in supermarkets across America contain tiny, engineered particles called nanomaterials. Our organization decided to test doughnuts after learning that the titanium dioxide used as a coloring in the powdered sugar coating likely contained nano-sized particles.

The tests, conducted by an independent laboratory, found that both Dunkin' Donuts Powdered Cake Donuts and Hostess Donettes did indeed contain titanium dioxide nanoparticles. In response, a spokeswoman for Dunkin Donuts said the company was looking into the matter.

You must be wondering: What are nanomaterials? They are microscopic in size. "If a nanoparticle were the size of a football, a red blood cell would be the size of the field." Nanoparticles have been heralded as having the potential to revolutionize the food industry - from enabling the production of creamy liquids that contain no fat, to enhancing flavors, improving supplement delivery, providing brighter colors, keeping food fresh longer, or indicating when it spoils.

But there are a few problems.

Read - Study the use of nanoparticles in food

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Filed under: Food Safety • Food Science


soundoff (9 Responses)
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    June 18, 2013 at 8:09 am | Reply
  2. putredgass

    There are also small particles in everyone's frikin brain that re-voted for this ignorant president that we have again in office for a second term. They are known as DUMB particles!

    March 6, 2013 at 3:17 pm | Reply
  3. Mickey1313

    one more reason, that I Stay away from processed foods. They are out right toxic. The food makers and the government are in colusion with eachother to make money, at the expense of the health of america.

    February 28, 2013 at 12:42 am | Reply
    • anne112

      I'm always shocked by what I see people putting their shopping carts at the supermarket. I would hesitate to even call it food.

      March 7, 2013 at 10:16 am | Reply
  4. Keeping grapes

    F-ing go nuts

    February 20, 2013 at 6:37 am | Reply
  5. my name is

    But Hostess doesn't exist anymore

    February 17, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Reply
  6. ohsnap

    Lesson here? Make your own.

    February 17, 2013 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  7. suj

    Don't be fooled by thinking you are getting a just made doughnut at Dunkin' Doughnuts. In 90% of their stores their doughnuts are as fresh as those sold in grocery stores and quickie marts. Unless it it a production store you'll see a big refrigerated truck show up at their front door every morning around five delivering doughnuts made the previous day. In many cities Dn'D will contract doughnut making out to local commercial bakeries.

    My bet is the titanium dioxide (the same stuff used as a color base for paints and also found in creams to block sun from burnning your nose) is added to keep the powdered sugar from clumping into a gooey mess.

    February 14, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Reply
    • Paul

      The food companies have been putting fumed silica (tiny spheres of silicon dioxide) in food for a long time to prevent caking and increasing viscosity. It's in ketchup and cake mixes and probably lots of other things.

      Wheaties has ground up iron oxide in it (grind some up and put a magnet by it to find them). This must be cheap source of iron supplement. I hope they don't get it from rusted out cars.

      February 24, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Reply

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