With several shrimp and seafood-importing countries stressing on halal compliance for feed, DNA testing has become a critical control point to ensure halal integrity of such food products.
Hyderabad-based National Research Centre on Meat has begun testing feed for shrimp in aquaculture for halal compliance, particularly in detection of pork DNA in meat and meat products with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test.
NRCM scientist Dr Vishnuraj MR told TOI, “We are not involved in process certification for halal compliance. Religious organisations give process-related certificates. But, we provide reports by testing the feed to see if pork DNA is present. Shrimp and aquafeed manufacturers are approaching us for halal compliance certificates. They use these reports to claim the feed is porkfree. Each test would cost `20,000 per sample.” Vishnuraj said NRCM uses highly sensitive realtime PCR, which could pick up even lower levels.
“Exporters are approaching us to test the animal feed and fish food. As the halal market is growing, this has become critical. NRCM has a sophisticated lab to conduct these tests,” Vishnuraj added. Exporters have been avoiding the utilization of non-halal ingredients in feeding animals used for human consumption. Researchers at NRCM lab, Chengicherla, located on the city outskirts, extract DNA from the feed and detect the presence of pork in the shrimp feed.