PHOTO - Exchange of the MOU document between (left) Shidah Ahmad, vice president and general manager, Agilent Technologies; and (right) Dr. Russly Abdul Rahman, director of the Halal Products Research Institute, Universiti Putra Malaysia; witnessed by (centre) Dato' Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry Malaysia.
Global measurement and chemical analysis firm Agilent Technologies and Universiti Putra Malaysia have signed an agreement to strengthen Malaysia's research capabilities into halal food products with an emphasis on food authentication and food safety.
Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) director of the halal products research institute Dr Russly Abdul Rahman said the university's Halal Products Research Institute (HPRI) agreement, announced in April 2012, with Agilent Technologies, was the first of its kind in the South Asia Pacific region and would help Malaysia strengthen its position as the world halal hub.
"HPRI was established to uphold the sanctity of halal through research and services," said Dr Russly. "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."
He said that 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."
"Today's announcement delivers on our commitment to research and innovation," said Agilent Technologies vice president and general manager, Shidah Ahmad. "By supporting research capabilities through world-class technologies and expertise in a variety of applications, Agilent is helping Malaysia strengthen its halal economy."
'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 about US$662 billion a year, representing almost 17 percent of the global food industry.
Three core areas of research
"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 Agilent Technologies regional business director, chemical analysis group in Southeast Asia, Tan Mei Mei. "We are thrilled to have the opportunity to collaborate with UPM for halal research that will benefit mankind."
Tan said that Agilent would also 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."
UPM's Dr Russly said that HPRI led research in three core areas:
- Halal science, including biotechnology, food science and new methodologies for halal products authentication and certification.
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