Based in York, Fera Science has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which will see the two work in partnership on the future of halal proficiency testing.
The agreement recognises Fera Science as “the world authority in this area, and promises to further advance the future role of halal proficiency testing, as world demand for this service continues to increase”.
“The world population is predicted to be 9.4 billion in 2050, an increase of 2.4 billion. To put that into perspective, it is expected that we need to produce between 60-110% more food,” said Mark Sykes, scientific advisor at Fera Science. “This population is expected to be wealthier, eating more and eating differently.
“As a result, the demand for halal products throughout the world is expected to significantly increase and, as such, food authenticity testing will become ever more important,” he added. “The two major concerns of halal consumers are the contamination of products by either alcohol or pork.
“It’s also important to remember halal foods include a wide range of products, not just meat and ready meals, but also anything which includes gelatine, such as confectionery, desserts and even cosmetics. And, as the number of products increase, so does the number of products claiming to be halal.”
Sykes added: “The Middle East, particularly, imports a large proportion of their food, and confidence in food authenticity is now demanded by consumers. Fera Science were early to recognise this, and using state-of-the-art research laboratories in York, invested significantly in technology to develop an innovative test to determine the species of origin to meet the requirements of the halal market. Further developments in technology will allow us to increase the ways in which we test and the sensitivity levels at which we can test.
“There are new and exciting developments in the testing methods, and it’s a privilege and honour to work in Malaysia leading this opportunity for the global market.”
The MOU was signed by Dr Andrew Swift, acting CEO of Fera and, for Penang International Halal Hub (PIHH – Halal Penang), by the Honourable Haji Abdul Malik Kassim, Penang State Minister for Cultural and Religious Affairs and chairman of PIHH.