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Nanotechnology involves every area of daily life, and while there are many benefits to its use, there are unknown dangers as well. Best described as “engineering on a very small scale,” nanotechnology has allowed manufacturers to create products like cell phones, cameras, CDs and DVD players.

The number of industries utilizing nanotechnology has grown exponentially. The food industry is a large user of the technology. Placed in packaging, it extends the shelf life of many foods. It can add more flavor, be used to detect e coli and other bacteria in food, and even enhance nutrients. A nano-enhanced barrier protects oxygen-sensitive foods and keeps them from spoiling longer. When incorporated into “green” packaging made of lobster shells and corn, nanotechnology makes it biodegradable. And nanobarcodes can be used in products to trace foodborne outbreaks.

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