Oil Palm Industry Economic Journal Vol. 5 (1) March 2005 p. 1-13

The Role of Research and Development Strategies in Food Safety and Good Agricultural, Manufacturing and Distribution Practices in the Malaysian Palm Oil Industry

Yusof Basiron and Chan Kook Weng
Received:    Accepted:    Available Online:


Globalization has expanded the Malaysian palm oil export market to over 140 countries. Research and development strategies carried out by Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) continue to provide information to demonstrate proactively food safety with negligible risk in its global supply chains. By examining the factors of air, water, soil, agricultural input, raw material and human used in the production, processing and manufacturing operations, the sound knowledge of science and technology from the 209 MPOB innovations, when combined with business and application of the widely accepted rigorous and systematic method of assessing and controlling hazards through the food chain, has ensured that palm oil remains an agricultural product that is healthy and safe to the customer. Throughout the food supply chain, the general principles of hazard analysis by critical control points (HACCP) have been incorporated into food safety legislation, long before they were officially introduced, to check the hygiene requirement and to use as a practical means of standardizing international food quality control and assurance practices. Every stage of preparation, processing, transport and distribution of palm oil is examined so that the final palm oil products for retailing to customers indeed are safe and nutritious. An effort is made to communicate new R&D findings to retain the credibility and trust of customers who will understand what lies behind such a food safety assurance scheme. The value-add throughout the supply chain covers good agricultural practices (GAP), good manufacturing practices (GMP) and good distribution practices (GDP). Built into a database, the information gathered allows the effectiveness of the good practices in food safety management, detection of contaminants, toxicology, novel processing, packaging and application of risk management to be evaluated. The harmonization of these good practices towards standardization provides a high level of confidence to the operational entities and the customers. The auditors and assessors when benchmarked by accredited bodies that are internationally recognized, the industry will attain integrity by their assessment. Knowledge that Malaysian palm oil products are produced to an agreed standard will further boost consumer confidence by making them even more acceptable by people the world over.

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