Agilent Technologies Inc. and Universiti Putra Malaysia have announced a collaboration to strengthen Malaysia’s research capabilities for halal food products, with particular emphasis on food authentication and food safety.
“Halal” is an Arabic word meaning lawful or allowable. Any product deemed halal is permitted for use and consumption by Muslims.
According to World Halal Forum, the halal food market is worth an estimated $662 billion a year, representing almost 17 percent of the global food industry.
Agilent has announced the agreement with the university’s Halal Products Research Institute, Malaysia’s top research organization for halal products.
This partnership, the first of its kind for Agilent in the South Asia Pacific region, will help Malaysia assert itself as the world halal hub.
“HPRI was established to uphold the sanctity of halal through research and services,” said Dr. Russly Abdul Rahman, director of the Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia.
Dr. Rahman continued, “Today’s announcement with Agilent is a major step for UPM in nurturing top-notch halal scientists and in delivering world-class research programs that are needed to increase the confidence in halal products and services.”
“Today’s announcement delivers on our commitment to research and innovation,” said Shidah Ahmad, vice president and general manager, Agilent.
Ahmad continued, “By supporting research capabilities through world-class technologies and expertise in a variety of applications, Agilent is helping Malaysia strengthen its halal economy.”
Under the agreement, Agilent will provide HPRI with the Agilent 6490 Triple Quadrupole Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry System, which offers 10 times more sensitivity compared to its nearest rival, along with access to global expertise in food safety and authenticity testing.
Liquid chromatography is useful for separating nonvolatile and thermally fragile molecules.
For more complex mixtures or when more information is required, the chromatograph is used in conjunction with a mass spectrometer, which is effective in identifying unknown compounds and determining the amount of each substance encountered.
“Agilent has long been developing analytical tools and methods used by government, industry and private labs worldwide to detect and measure food content and quality as well as food safety,” said Tan Mei Mei, regional business director for Agilent’s Chemical Analysis Group in South East Asia. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with UPM for halal research that will benefit mankind.”
Agilent will provide HPRI with competency training for the institute’s lab professionals undertaking chemical analysis.
Through this collaboration, HPRI will drive research into the development of methods for porcine-gelation screening and amino acids profiling, including adulteration analysis and confirmation.
HPRI leads research in three core areas:
• Halal science, including biotechnology, food science and new methodologies for halal products authentication and certification.
• Halal policy and management, including the application of Islamic law for disciplines such as marketing, consumer behavior, security and logistics management of halal slaughter.
• Halal services, including alternative techniques for the development of halal products such as alternative sources for halal gelatin.