Debbie Too and Fitri Shahminan
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN: The Sultanate will be equipped with modern equipment for halal food analysis with the completion of the Brunei Darussalam Halal Science Centre expected by July of this year.
The Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources is in the process of renovating an existing building in Anggerek Desa where halal analysis will be done, said Cristalina Jalil Marsal, head of the ministry’s Halal Business Development Division.
The halal science centre will be fully operational by July at the latest, Cristalina said yesterday at the 2nd International Symposium on Halal Science and Innovative Product Development.
Hajah Normah Suria Hayati Pehin Jawatan Dalam Seri Maharaja Dato Seri Utama (Dr) Haji Awang Mohd Jamil Al-Sufri, Permanent Secretary of MIPR, said the laboratories at the centre will be equipped with “modern and advanced analytical equipment and machineries”.
In her keynote address as the guest of honour at yesterday’s event, she said the centre’s capabilities will include halal authentication, detection, innovation and research and development.
“It would also complement Brunei Darussalam’s efforts to establish the centre as the halal global reference centre in halal analysis, science and innovation,” said Hajah Normah.
The MIPR last year signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with three international institutions and one foreign company to engage in cooperation on technical training and academic research collaboration.
One of the partners is the Florida State University of the US, which will be helping in immunochemical detection of hidden blood protein in dietary products. It will also help develop methods for food analysis.
The Graduate School of Engineering in Osaka will help develop advanced analytical laboratory methods including the development of bio-sensors for rapid and easy field tests for testing food and beverage products.
Japan Food Research Laboratories will be involved in a collaborative research project on food or beverage ingredients such as colour or flavour.
Bioleaders from Corporation South Korea will be involved in promoting and strengthening technical cooperation and research collaborations in halal product development.
“The involvement of these international institutions and company will certainly further develop and strengthen the Brunei Darussalam Halal Centre capabilities in halal science and technology, as well as further enhance the halal products research and development particularly in the areas of formulation, processing and packaging,” said Hajah Normah.
In establishing the centre, the MIPR is working closely with the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Health and Universiti Brunei Darussalam.
The centre will have a team of six halal science officers carrying out research work and analysis, said Cristalina, who is also the acting head of the Halal Industry Innovation Center for MIPR.
She said that the centre can also be used as a reference point for businesses seeking information on halal-related issues, including certification and product development.
“Some of the businesses sometimes are at a loss when trying to find the relevant parties for certain business dealings. The centre will be a resource centre and we will gladly oblige to help the small business,” she said.
The facility will move to the Bio-Innovation Corridor (formerly known as the Brunei Agro-Technology Park) in the medium term, Cristalina said, adding that the plan is to have science laboratories on a “bigger scale”.
The Brunei Times