The Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University, has been named the recipient of the Halal Journal Award of Best Innovation in Halal Industry for 2006. The award is good news for Thailand, which is developing itself as a halal hub.
The Halal Journal, published in Malaysia, is an international bi-montly magazine. It is distributed in 35 countries where the journal selects organizations and individuals to receive awards in various fields that contribute to the halal industry. The Award of Best Innovation is among the eight awards given by the Halal Journal this year. Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Amad Badawi will present the awards at a ceremony to be held on 8 May 2006 at the Crown Plaza Mutiara in Kuala Lumpur.
Not many people know that the Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University, is recognized as the first halal science agency ever established in the world. The Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, has undertaken activities related to halal science since 1994. Later, in 2003, the Thai government offered a fund for the Faculty to establish the Central Laboratory and Scientific Information Center for Halal Food Development, known in short as Halal-CELSIC. The project is in response to the government policy of developing Thailand into the “Kitchen of the World.” The center provides analytical services and research for detection of contamination detrimental to halal food manufacturing.
In 2004, the Chulalongkorn University Council agreed to upgrade Halal-CELSIC into “The Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University.”Since then, the center has introduced the halal-GMP/HACCP system to more than 50 halal food factories. It is equipped with modern technology with more than 10 personnel. Apart from conducting research and development in the area of halal science, the center provides training for scientists, entrepreneurs, Islamic academics, and consumers. It has established the halal scientific laboratory networking with other countries as well.
In 2006, the center was entrusted with serving as the Business Incubator for Halal Products. The continued progress in the operations of the center has contributed to the image of Thai halal food, resulting in its standards gaining more recognition in the world market. Moreover, it demonstrates that Thai society has provided equal support for all activities useful to all faiths without discrimination.
According to the Islamic Development Bank and the Canadian Trade Service 2004, the Muslim population worldwide is numbered at 1,800 to 1,900 million. The value of the global Halal food market is worth US0 billion, accounting for 25 percent of the total food trade value. Today, Thailand has only 0.18 percent of the global market share for halal food, which is considered minimal.
The Thai halal food is popular not only among Muslims but also non-Muslim consumers. Halal, an Arabic word, means lawful or permissible for consumption and utilization. It is not limited to only food but also applies to other matters. Halal food is regarded as spiritual safety for Muslim consumers. According to Islamic guidance, almost everything on earth is designated as halal for human consumption, except certain prohibited items, such as pork and meat from some groups of animals, such as dog, snake, monkey, disease-carrying animals, and carnivorous animals with fangs and claws.