News From : DagangHalal.com (24 Nov 2009)
MANILA – Both the government and private sector have been urged to ramp up investments in research and development of the local halal industry to enable the Philippines to tap into the multi-billion dollar global halal food market.
At the National Halal Forum 2009, event chairperson Dr. Haja Sittie Shayma Zenaida Hadji Raof-Laidan said that the Philippines has barely cornered 1% of the halal market worldwide.
She added that while there were halal-certified products in the Philippines, the main problem was that the certification of these were not institutionalized, resulting in skepticism from the Islamic community both here and abroad.
“Right now, we cannot guarantee that our halal products are genuine halal. The certification is still questionable because of the absence of a halal forensic laboratory, and the Muslim authorities that could vouch for the integrity of the product,” she stressed.
Laidan said the Department of Science and Technology, where she also serves as Regional Director for Region XII, will be constructing a laboratory for halal certification, hopefully by December this year.
The project, which is estimated to cost a total of P75 million, includes the latest equipment for halal testing, and tools to conduct halal education seminars nationwide. Should this push through, the laboratory is expected to be completed in the next 3 years.
A DOST-accredited halal product, Laidan noted, would lend credibility and integrity into local halal products, particularly those for export.
“Halal” is the Arabic term for lawful or permissible. It is used as a standard for food for the consumption and utilization of the Islamic community. Halal food excludes pork, dog, snake, monkey or other disease-carrying animals; animals improperly slaughtered, killed int he name of anyone other than Allah; alcohol and other intoxicants, among others.
Laidan said demand for halal food is growing to include a more health-conscious global population.
“The demand is increasing. It’s not just the Muslims that require halal food, but also non-Muslims,” she said.