UK-headquartered Intertek and Malaysia's newly formed Halal Industry Development Corp (HDC) announced this week that a £3 million (€4.43m) centre of excellence will be constructed in Malaysia to accelerate the development of testing and training in halal standards. While the halal industry is now worth millions, there are still no international standards and best practices, making it a complex area to navigate for companies trading halal goods globally. Different countries have different guidelines and very few have domestic standards in place. The development of a set of international guidelines would mark the 'coming-of-age' of the global industry, believes Abdalhamid Evans, director of research and intelligence, at KasehDia, consultants to the Malaysian government. "A lot of the world's big food players including Nestle, Tesco and McDonalds are already committed to halal. Once there are guidelines in place to streamline the trade of products and certify a whole new range of products, we'll really see strong growth of the industry," he told AP-Foodtechnology.com. Malaysia has repeatedly stated its amibitions to become a halal hub for the region and the task of developing international guidelines would give it a leadership role in this area. The newly formed HDC said that there will be further collaborations such as this one with Intertek to enhance this role. With more than 1.8 billion Muslims globally, the total size of global halal food and non-food (such as financial services, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics) industries is estimated at RM7.98 trillion with an expected growth rate of 10-20 per cent each year. The Halal food market has never been measured but estimates range from US$150 to $500 billion.