Nanotechnology has the potential to innovate the agricultural, feed and food sectors (hereinafter referred to as agri/feed/food). Applications that are marketed already include nano-encapsulated agrochemicals or nutrients, antimicrobial nanoparticles and active and intelligent food packaging. Many nano-enabled products are currently under research and development, and may enter the market in the near future. As for any other regulated product, applicants applying for market approval have to demonstrate the safe use of such new products without posing undue safety risks to the consumer and the environment.
Several countries all over the world have been active in examining the appropriateness of their regulatory frameworks for dealing with nanotechnologies. As a consequence of this, different approaches have been taken in regulating nano-based products in agri/feed/food. The EU, along with Switzerland, were identified to be the only world region where nano-specific provisions have been incorporated in existing legislation, while in other regions nanomaterials are regulated more implicitly by mainly building on guidance for industry. This paper presents an overview and discusses the state of the art of different regulatory measures for nanomaterials in agri/feed/food, including legislation and guidance for safety assessment in EU and non-EU countries.