Context: Government has recently released the ‘Guidelines for Evaluation of Nano-based Agri-input and food products in India’
More on news:
- The Guidelines have been prepared jointly by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Ministry of Science and Technology, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (M/o A&FW) and Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through concerted Inter-Ministerial efforts coordinated by DBT.
- The formulation of these ‘Guidelines’ is one of the most important steps for delineating quality, safety and efficacy assessment of the novel nano-formulations which can be commercialized.
- Nanomaterials (NMs) display unique properties due to their large surface area to volume ratio.
- They thus support in development of novel products and processes. Existing products are also improved from such interventions.
- Nanotechnology has recently been employed to develop agriculture input products such as fertilizers and pesticides for improvement of crop yields.
- Nanobiotechnology has the potential to improve agricultural systems through increase in plant productivity and better crop protection for meeting the changing needs and requirements of providing food to the growing population”
Key highlights of the guidelines:
These guidelines apply to the following two categories of products:
- Agri-input products in the nano form of finished formulation as well as active ingredient(s) (AI) of a new material (inorganic/organic/composite) dimension that is intended to be used in agriculture and allied sectors.
- Agri-products in the nano form of finished food formulations, finished feed formulations, finished dairy formulations, food/feed formulations from marine resources, nano carriers for nutraceuticals delivery, nano processing aids, nanocomposites for food packaging and nano sensors for food/feed packaging, food/feed safety applications and for dairy products safety applications.
Significance of the guidelines:
- These guidelines are aimed at assisting in making policy decisions by providing information on the existing regulations for nano-based products in agriculture and food and also to ensure quality, safety and efficacy of the targeted products.
- These guidelines would help policy makers and regulators to frame effective provisions for future novel nano-based products in the agri-input and food sectors of India.
- Compared to bulk form of chemical inputs in crops, use of nano-nutrients can reduce nutrient run-off into ground and surface water and thus can reduce environmental pollution.
- Encourage the Indian innovators and industries to develop and commercialize new nano-based formulations and products in these sectors.
Definition of NMs, NAIPs and NAPs
- Nanomaterial (NM) is defined as a material that ranges in size from 1 to 100 nm at least in one dimension or any materials that possess improved properties or phenomena because of the effect of dimension(s)
- Nano-agri-input product (NAIP) is defined as an agricultural input preparation containing NMs intended for applications (through soil, seed, foliar and drip in crops as well as by other means) on crops for the purpose of farming.
- Nano-agri product (NAP) is defined as an agricultural preparation containing NMs intended for consumption or application in food/feed and their supplements as well as nutraceutical delivery.
SCIENTIFIC RATIONALE FOR MANUFACTURING OF NAIPS AND NAPS
- The rationale underlying manufacturing of NAIPs and NAPs should be demonstrated and specified with reference to their claimed advantage(s) in comparison to conventional products.
- The NMs and their transformed waste disposal impacts on ecosystems should also be taken into consideration.
- The following aspects should be specifically addressed for justification of the use of NAIPs and NAPs:
- The claim should be made on the basis of parameters that must include efficacy, safety, application modes and frequency, improved crop yield and productivity or any other benefit over conventional products.
- Addressing any issue arising out of a significantly different mode of action and assimilation than that of the conventional products.
- Addressing the issue of specific effect/property associated with the conventional products, if any, such as soil and plant toxic effects.