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February 21st, 2006
Tiny devices to feed advances in food safety and quality
Laboratory testing of agricultural produce in the wake of the food scares of the 1990s has made the food on European dinner tables safer than ever before. But, say a team of researchers, an even better job could be done by taking the laboratory to the farm, slaughter house or processing plant.
The GoodFood project aims to do just that by using micro and nanotechnology to develop portable devices to detect toxins, pathogens and chemicals in foodstuffs on the spot. Food samples would no longer have to be sent to a laboratory for tests – a comparatively lengthy and costly procedure – but could be analysed for safety and quality at the farm, during transport or storage, in a processing or packaging centre or even in a supermarket.
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