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Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha Commends “Halal Science: The Soft Power of Thailand’s Halal Products and Services” at The Halal Science Center Chulalongkorn University

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha Commends “Halal Science: The Soft Power of Thailand’s Halal Products and Services”

On Thursday February 23, 2023, the Thai Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, visited the Halal Science Center (HSC), Chulalongkorn University, to observe the progress of halal science, technology, and innovation. The HSC is recognized as the world’s first halal science institute, which has pioneered the development of halal science in many Muslim countries, especially those in ASEAN, in which there is high competition in exports of agricultural and food products to 57 Muslim member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation or OIC. Since Thailand is not a Muslim-majority country, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (NESDC) then proposed a measure to reduce the disadvantages by building trust in Thailand’s halal certification through halal science developed in the Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Chulalongkorn University. This led to the establishment of the Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University, in 2003. Over the past 20 years, the HSC has received support from the government to develop halal science in different fields, resulting in many national and international awards and over 150 pieces of research and innovations produced. The HSC is now ready to showcase the “Halal Science: The Soft Power of Thailand’s Halal Products and Services.”  

At this event, Professor Chakkaphan Sutthirat, Ph.D., Vice President for Research Affairs, Chulalongkorn University, and Police Major-General Surin Palarae, Secretary General of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand (CICOT), delivered a welcome speech and a report on the support of halal science in Thailand. Then, Assoc. Prof. Winai Dahlan, Ph.D., Director of the HSC, gave an account as follows. In 2015 and 2019, the governments under the leadership of the Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, tasked HSC with developing digital technology projects, namely Thailand Diamond Halal and Halal Blockchain, to facilitate Muslim consumers in Thailand and overseas in verifying halal products made in Thailand. At present, the HSC is in the process of developing a platform named Thailand Diamond Halal Blockchain 4.0. In addition, HSC has developed innovations in Halal Plant-Based Products, Halal Herbal Metabolomic Bioactives, and Halal Molecular Sensory Substances, as well as high-value herbal products for the Muslim markets, which will open a door for potential high-value halal food product exports from Thailand. Saudi Arabia, which has normalized diplomatic relations with Thailand under this government, has affirmed their trust in the quality of halal products from Thailand, which stems from their confidence in halal scientific advancement made by the HSC. Apart from new innovations and the Halal Assurance Liability-Quality System (HAL-Q), which has been adopted by 1,112 establishments around the country (453 factories and 659 diners/restaurants), governing 158,823 workers, the HSC has also developed a halal chemical database called the H number, to be used for the ease of the industrial sector, leading to more marketing advantages in the highly competitive halal market. Moreover, the HSC’s Halal Forensic Science Laboratory (HAFOLAB) is ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ISO 9001:2015 certified for all services in providing quality assurance on product safety and consumer protection. The lab has developed techniques to detect haram adulterants and has produced 188,731 analyses on ingredients and products in the food industry. It also provides knowledge on halal science by holding training for 118 international scientists from 24 countries and 271 students in universities around Thailand. Assoc. Prof. Winai Dahlan, Ph.D., Director of HSC, added that with the success of Thailand Diamond Halal Blockchain 4.0, consumers will have more convenience in verifying the halal conditions in each product under the project. The HSC’s missions all aim to benefit Thailand with the slogan “Halal Science: The Soft Power of Thailand’s Halal Products and Services.”  

Assoc. Prof. Winai Dahlan, Ph.D.,
Director of the Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University

During his visit, General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister, offered his praise and appreciation to HSC and mentioned how the government acknowledges the determination to develop the HSC into a center of halal science, technology, and innovation, which serves as a point of pride for Thailand and Thai people. The HSC plays an important role in contributing to the country’s economy by helping Thai halal products achieve competitiveness by international standards. Although Thailand is renowned in agriculture, more income from the industrial sector needs to be generated through developing value-adding schemes to food products and expanding the halal food market to the global market. This is because food is one of Thailand’s soft power products which needs to be promoted by all parties involved. Moreover, the government places importance on agricultural development for plants and cattle in relation to halal development, leading to strengthened economies of grassroots and mainstream.  

On this occasion, the Prime Minister also expressed admiration of the work of Chulalongkorn’s The Halal Science Center and anticipates the continued efforts in halal scientific, technological, and innovative research, with a sense of responsibility towards society. The center should produce new knowledge as well as build a civil society network by sharing insight and understanding with entrepreneurs in order to add value to products and apply halal science to achieve halal certification that meets the needs of the consumers. As a result, the country will have more opportunities and develop its capacity to compete in the global halal market, earning international recognition for Thai halal scientific innovation.    

The Prime Minister’s visit included the HSC’s laboratories, such as the Wanmuhamadnoor Matha Halal Molecular Biology Laboratory, the Tan Sri Dr. Surin Pitsuwan Halal Science Research and Innovation Laboratory and the Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory, which are laboratories for new innovations in food, nutrition, and cosmetics. The Prime Minister also visited exhibition on halal research and product development, such as plant-based egg, fish noodles from red tilapia fish with Thai herbs, and Japanese sweet potato custard with herbal oil encapsulation, as well as saw the background of the HAL-Q system and the HSC’s innovations that have been developed into products and intellectual property such as sunscreen, food supplements, liquid soap, etc.   

Visit and contact the Public Relations Department, the Secretariat Office of the Halal Science Center, Chulalongkorn University, at +662-218-1054 ext. 401, 403, or fax: +662-218-1105.  

Chula’s encouragement and support for research is excellent for teachers, students, and the public.

Associate Professor Dr. Suchana Chavanich Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University

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