The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is opening the door for livestock feed manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies to roll out nanotechnology products that could make animals gain weight faster or absorb medications more quickly.

Nanotechnology, which involves the manipulation of materials on an atomic or molecular level, is increasingly being tested by food manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic firms as a means of improving the shelf-life of food, altering the look of make-up or changing the impact of medicated animal feeds.

The agency’s draft guidance on nanotechnology products for animal foods, released on Tuesday, takes a cautious approach and highlights “ongoing questions about the safety issues for humans and animals if such altered products were included into livestock and animal feed.”

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