DNA tools to safeguard sustainable trade in Indian medicinal plants
Dr Julie A Hawkins
University of Reading - CAER
JSS College of Pharmacy, Foundation for Revitalisation of Local Health Traditions - FLRHT
• European legislation designed to safeguard public health will involve a registration procedure whereby manufacturers must demonstrate consistent standards of safety and quality. Accurate identification underlies safe usage, with DNA identification tools considered the most efficient for the accurate identification of plant parts and likely to become mandatory.
• Without enhanced training and resources to deliver DNA identification methods there is likely to be a reduction in the number of Indian products reaching the European market, and a concommitent loss of benefits to India from international trade.
• Our project aims to develop and transfer technologies for development of accurate DNA-based identification of medicinal plants to India, thereby securing a European market for Indian plant products and protecting livelihoods in India.
• European legislation demands consistent standards of safety, but makes no reference to sustainability of production. Nevertheless, the introduction of a registration procedure presents an opportunity to link quality control to sustainable production and to ensure fair and equitable distribution of the benefits arising out of the international medicinal plant trade. DI funded technology transfer alongside facilitated dialogue thus presents an opportunity to help India implement the CBD.
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