DOST-12 seeks accreditation of halal laboratory

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews / 31 March) – In a bid to expand the market of local halal exports, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in Region 12 has sought for the accreditation of its halal laboratory with a Turkey-based body.

Dr. Zenaida Hadji Raof-Laidan, DOST Region 12 director, said they have filed an application with the Turkish Accreditation Agency (TURKAK) in Ankara, Turkey for the accreditation the agency-run Philippine National Halal Laboratory in Cotabato City.

She said the laboratory has so far complied with the accreditation requirements set by TURKAK in terms of its halal testing parameters and services.

“We’re confident that the laboratory will be able secure that accreditation,” she said.

The official said getting TURKAK’s accreditation is very important as it holds the standards and test parameters for Islamic countries, specifically the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries.

Once certified, she said the regional halal laboratory could provide one-shop testing services for export products to the Middle East and other top halal markets.

Laidan said it will cater to consumers, companies or industries and researchers of halal products.

She said the halal market needs safe and wholesome products and the regional laboratory could help assure that the food and non-food items produced in the area can conform to such standards.

“The laboratory is well-equipped to provide quality and safety assurance to locally-produced and manufactured halal products,” Laidan said.

She said the agency’s halal laboratory features the latest state-of-the art equipment and is backed by a laboratory quality management system that had received accreditation with the International Standardization Organization (ISO) and International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 17025:2005 standards.

ISO/IEC 17025:2005 “specifies the general requirements for the competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations, including sampling, that covers testing and calibration performed using standard methods, non-standard methods, and laboratory-developed methods.”

The DOST-12’s quality management systems was also duly certified under ISO 9001:2008 standards, she said.

Halal is Arabic for “permitted” and refers to a food or non-food preparation method under Islamic law.

The global market for halal products has been steadily growing and its value is now estimated at around US$2.3 trillion.

A government study showed that around US$700 billion of the halal market involve food products that could be produced in Mindanao.