Because of its abundant agricultural resources, combined with its investments in international quality standards, technology, and research and development for food safety, Thailand is presenting Thai food to consumers worldwide under the theme “Kitchen to the World.”
The country also has great potential for producing and exporting more halal food. Not many people know that the Halal Science Center at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok is recognized as the first halal science agency ever established in the world. It plays an important role in developing the standards of Thai halal food, which is gaining greater recognition in the international community.
The university’s Faculty of Allied Health Sciences has undertaken activities related to halal science since 1995. On 13 August 2003, the Thai government granted a fund enabling the Faculty to set up the Central Laboratory and Scientific Information Center for Halal Food Development, known in short as “Halal-CELSIC.” The center provides analytical services and research for the detection of contamination detrimental to halal food manufacturing, and is expanding its linkages throughout the country. In 2004, the Chulalongkorn University Council agreed to upgrade Halal-CELSIC into the “Halal Science Center Chulalongkorn University,” assuming all tasks and responsibilities from Halal-CELSIC. The center has established halal laboratories fully equipped with modern, high-standard analytical and preparative scientific equipment. It has introduced the halal Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) and Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP), as well as other standards, to food manufacturers, restaurant operators, and other food service providers. Apart from conducting research and development in the area of halal science, the center also provides training for scientists, entrepreneurs, Islamic academics, and consumers. It has established a halal scientific laboratory network with other countries, as well.
In 2006, the Halal Science Center was entrusted with serving as the Business Incubator for Halal Products. The continued progress in the operation of the center has contributed to the image of Thai halal food, resulting in its standards gaining more recognition in the world market. Moreover, it demonstrates that Thai society provides equal support for all activities useful to all faiths, without discrimination. The Halal Science Center Chulalongkorn University is located at the CU Research Building. It has also set up branch offices in Pattani and Chiang Mai provinces. The center has received many international awards for its operations. The Director of the Halal Science Center, Associate Professor Winai Dahlan, said that trade of halal products worldwide was valued at more than two trillion US dollars, with over 1.8 billion consumers.
Thai halal exports stand at 5.6 billion US dollars a year. Thailand wants to increase its share of the halal business in the world market and to develop itself into a halal food center. In 2016, Thailand ranked 10th among the world’s largest halal producers, up from 13th in the previous year. The country has set a target to become one of the world’s top five halal producers by 2019. To achieve this aim, the Thailand Halal 4.0 strategy has been set in line with the Government’s Thailand 4.0 policy.