DOST Region XII Director Zenaida P. Hadji Raof Laidan during the NRCP Regional Basic Research Caravan

The National Research Council of the Philippines eyes to support basic studies that could aid in strengthening the existing standards used for packaging and labelling of Halal food products.

“There is currently an unmet need for an appropriate functional packaging standards for Halal food products to ensure its authenticity,” explained by DOST XII Regional Director Zenaida P. Hadji Raof Laidan during the NRCP Regional Basic Research Caravan last September 19, 2019 at the Sultan Kudarat State University in Tacurong City.

NRCP Executive Director Marieta Bañez Sumagaysay said that NRCP will look into where the basic studies on this area could be incorporated into the National Integrated Basic Research Agenda (NIBRA), the priorities and research direction of NRCP for 2017 to 2022. The same was echoed in one of the NRCP Governing Board meetings held in September 2019 where Dr. Edanjarlo Marquez, Chair of the Division on Earth and Space Sciences, proposed for the inclusion of Halal studies in the NIBRA under the ATIN (Ang Tinig Natin) Program. ATIN (Ang Tinig Natin) is one of the priority programs of NRCP for inclusive nation-building.

NRCP is mandated by law to support and promote the conduct of basic research and to serve as the advisory body to the government on issues of national interests. Recently, NRCP has been aggressive in promoting and translating the results of its funded studies for use of policy makers for policy research and in drafting legislations.

In one of the workshops during the Caravan, the authenticity of Halal products is among the priority concerns of the region. According to one workshop participant there is a rampant use of Halal seal and logo for food products currently in the market which “are not certified halal and are not traceable to International Halal Standards.” The establishment of a Halal R&D Packaging Center is also one of the important recommendations.

The Food and Agriculture Organization defines Halal certified foods as lawful foods under the Islamic Law and should not contain products and derivatives which are considered unlawful such as pigs and boars, dogs, snakes and monkeys to name a few.

Dr. Sumagaysay pledged support to DOST Region XII and said that it will plan on how NRCP could lead in crafting a research program designed to generate baseline data for policy studies which could help tighten the existing rules and regulations of labeling and packaging of halal food products.