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Ensuring quality food supply in Malaysia: Agilent

AvantiKumar | March 27, 2013
Four societal megatrends in Malaysia point to a need for safer food, according to Agilent Technologies, which is hosting a round of symposiums in Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Agilent TAE MY modified

Photo - (From left)  Soh Lam Seng, Country Manager, Malaysia, Chemical Analysis Group, Agilent Technologies; and Shanya Kane, Vice President and General Manager, Gas Chromatography Business, Chemical Analysis Group, Agilent Technologies with the new Agilent 7890B gas chromatograph which offers lab professionals new levels of productivity, sensitivity and reliability.

Measurement and analytics provider Agilent Technologies, which expects more than a 1000 scientists to attend its Southeast Asian round of symposiums, has pointed to four megatrends in Malaysia that point to a need for a safer food supply.

Agilent Technologies' Chemical Analyst Group's Malaysia country manager Soh Lam Seng said the recent meat adulteration scandal where food advertised as beef was found to contain undeclared horsemeat is a recent example of how measurement plays a huge role in determining food authenticity and food safety.

In Malaysia, four societal megatrends have been identified by Agilent Technologies [Agilent]. "The rise of Malaysia as an industrial society brings with it concerns of health, waste, and pollution. A global food supply means we have less control over its quality, while an ageing population impacts the cost of health, and the use of sophisticated electronics means that networks and infrastructure must be kept secure."

"Agilent, which has been in operation in Malaysia for over 40 years, provides bio-analytical instruments for stringent food safety tests," said Soh. "In this respect, we help our customers with testing solution and workflow that will address challenging food safety analysis to ensure that food tested in Malaysia is safe for human consumption. Our customers are ranging from government labs who conduct tests for enforcement and regulatory requirements and industry food players who use our sophisticated instruments for tests for export and import needs."

"In Malaysia, our customers include government laboratories like the Department of Chemistry Malaysia, MOH's Food Safety and Control Laboratories, Department of Agriculture and Department of Veterinary. We also have industrial customers ranging from food producers to edible oil refiners," he said.

The company's Total Agilent Experience (TAE) symposium, which is in its third year, has attracted 40 percent more attenders than last year, focused on food, energy, environment, genomics & integrated biology, and pharmaceuticals. "This year's theme, 'Explore Unlimited Possibilities' with Agilent science, challenges the scientific and research communities to use technology for new discoveries that will benefit mankind," he said.

The symposium, which has so far been held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 19-20 March and in Singapore on 22 March, will conclude in Bangkok, Thailand on 27 March.

Collaborations in Malaysia

"The entire three-city Total Agilent Experience symposium kicked off in Kuala Lumpur with a two-day programme designed for knowledge building and sharing among scientists, chemists and researchers in food, pharmaceutical, environmental science and material sciences industries," said Soh. This year's line-up of bio-analytical solutions and expert speakers should help the country's scientific communities gear towards a transformed nation."

"One of the collaborations in Malaysia was announced at the World Halal Summit 2012 with UPM's Halal Product Research Institute [HPRI]," said Soh. "Under the agreement, Agilent will provide HPRI with the Agilent 6490 Triple Quadrupole Liquid Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry System, which offers 10 times more sensitivity compared to its nearest rival, along with access to global expertise in food safety and authenticity testing."

"Through this collaboration, HPRI will drive research into the development of methods for porcine-gelation screening and amino acids profiling, including adulteration analysis and confirmation," he said.

"Malaysia is leveraging science and technology to transform its economy, and there are plans to drive greater value added services and products from its large economic contributors - the Oil & Gas and Palm Oil sectors," said Soh. "We believe that Agilent's bio-analytical instruments will be useful in helping Malaysian scientists, chemists and researchers on their journey of discoveries."

"Among our new instruments are the new Agilent 7890B gas chromatograph and the 5977A Series mass selective detector, which offer lab professionals new levels of productivity, sensitivity and reliability," said Agilent chemical analysis group's vice president and general manager, Shanya Kane.

"Improvements have been made to the sensitivity and efficiency of the instruments, as well as enhanced user experience," said Kane. "The innovation behind the new 7890B GC is based on in-depth understanding of user needs following three years of market research and conversations with hundreds of users worldwide."

"For instance, in view of the global shortage of helium needed as carrier gas in lab tests, we have built conservation and migration capabilities into our gas chromatography instruments to help our users address that issue from system setup through analytical performance stages," she said. "Agilent leads the industry as the first company to address such issues from all aspects of our users' requirements."


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