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Not All Halal Products May Meet Standards: Expert

News From : DagangHalal.com (18 Aug 2009)

Halal products that have passed laboratory tests at the Halal Science Centre at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

DOHA: Not all halal-certified food products sold in supermarkets in Qatar and other Gulf countries comply with halal standards, according to a Thai professor at a well-known university in Bangkok.

Dr Winai Dahlan, Associate Professor and Director of the Halal Science Center (HSC) of Chulalongkorn University, said many studies had shown that food products exported to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries with halal certification may not have been processed scientifically according to the required standards.

“Ninety percent of processed food in Saudi Arabia comes from non-Muslim countries,” Dr Dahlan said, replying to a query from The Peninsula, during a visit to the HSC laboratories by 10 journalists from the Middle East on a media familiarisation trip.

“As Muslims, we have to protect ourselves,” he said, explaining that there was a need for greater scrutiny on the part of Muslim consumers to ensure they were getting halal quality meat and food products, especially since there were no established international Halal standards yet for the estimated 1.8 billion Muslims around the world.

Dahlan said Thailand had been closely coordinating with the Gulf countries to develop collaboration on halal techniques.

Already, the halal expert said, some GCC countries had realised that importance of having the right halal technology, as in the case of the United Arab Emirates, which held a halal trade fair during the recently held GCC-ASEAN Joint Ministerial Conference in Bahrain.

As part of its programme to offer food security to the GCC countries, the Thai government has been actively promoting Halal products and the country has now become the fifth biggest producer of halal products in the world behind the United States, China and the European Union.

The HSC, which was jointly established by the Chulalongkorn University and the Thai government, is well-equipped with modern and advanced scientific devices for analytical services and research to detect contaminants detrimental to halal food manufacturing, including animal fatty acids, animal proteins/DNA, gelatin, alcohol and microbial contaminants.

As the only centre for halal studies in the ASEAN region, the HSC offers standardisation services, scientific devices, development and research services, consumer protection services and food production system development services.

Source ::: The Peninsula / By CHRIS V PANGANIBAN

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