DAVAO CITY — Davao City will soon have its own laboratory specialized in detecting non-halal content in consumer products, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) in this region said.
Anthony Sales, DOST XI regional director, said the laboratory is expected to open in the third or fourth quarter of this year.
The said laboratory, the first in Davao City, will be located near the Southern Philippines Medical Center.
Products that will undergo testing at the said laboratory will be tested against traces of contaminants prohibited with the law of Islam, among them include pork fat.
The laboratory can go as far as DNA testing on halal export products, Sales told the Philippine Information Agency. To ensure validity of the tests, he said Muslim chemists will be assigned to work at the halal laboratory.
“It is only through testing that you can see pork components in products. The laboratory through DNA or chemical analysis can determine the presence of pork fat, pork meat or gelatin in the products to be tested. Aside from pork it can also pick out ingredients which are Haram (prohibited),” said Sales.
The laboratory is a realization of a collaboration between the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) and the DOST with the latter providing scientific and technical support to NCMF on the testing of Halal products.
Around P47 million was spent to acquire equipment for the laboratory, and another P2 million to construct the building, said Sales.
In 2008, Davao City was groomed to be the Halal Economic Zone in Mindanao during the time of Clayton Olalia, the assistant secretary of the Department of Agriculture at the time.
Two years later, councilor Maria Belen Acosta penned an ordinance requiring restaurants to serve what is fit to Muslims’ religious dietary laws. The ordinance is yet to be implemented.
Once implemented, restaurants found guilty of committing forbidden procedures, such as preparing pork-based food despite gaining Halal certification could face revocation of their business permit.
Aside from Davao, five more testing centers are expected to be put up including one in DOST Region XII, Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), CALABARZON, and Zamboanga. (With additional reports from Mick Basa/ davaotoday.com)