FOOD consumed by Muslims must meet the Islamic dietary code called halal.
The recent halal food crisis and its diffusion through the media in Malaysia had as consequence, in general, reduced public confidence, and of the Muslims in particular, in the products that they purchase.
The lack of enforcement in monitoring halal food products has caused consumers to query the validity of products or services claiming to be halal.
These public outcries have triggered the interest of researchers to study the level of confidence on halal food products and the logo which is associated with it.
The Malaysian government has long recognised the importance of halal and has established mechanisms to secure the confidence of Muslim consumers in certifying products, food producers, abattoirs/slaughterhouses and food premises.
Several legislations were enacted for the protection of consumers of halal products.
In March 2006, the federal government announced that all state governments in Malaysia are to use the standard halal logo issued by Jakim (Jabatan Kemajuan Islam Malaysia), thus making the logo the national halal logo of the country.
Previously, state governments were allowed to use their own halal logos.
Researcher Professor Engr Khairul Muzzammil Saipullah of Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka said there is an important need to verify the halal logo, thus they have come up with an application to detect genuine Jakim halal logo.
“The application uses real-time embedded processing, computer vision, pattern recognition, and machine learning algorithm by only taking a photograph of the halal logo,” he said.
Professor Khairul said the application can be used by Android 2.3 smartphones and others compatible to the application and has an auto focus function.
“The application is easy to use and has fast processing time,” he said.
He said the Android smartphone users can download the application through the Android market for free.
“At present, we are still fine tuning the application so that it can operate on other versions of smartphones. We have so far successfully tested the application using Samsung GalaxyS, GalaxySII, Galaxy Note, and Sony Ericson Xperia version 10 above,” he said, noting the application is currently in the testing stage.
Professor Khairul said besides Jakim’s halal logo, the application is being upgraded to detect genuine halal logos from foreign countries that have been accredited by Jakim.