A new joint venture company has been formed to bring greater transparency to the global halal supply chain and allow retailers to tap into a vastly undersupported category. Online information exchange specialist TraceTracker signed a deal last week with venture capitalists CIMB Private Equity to form an as-yet unnamed company that promises to make it easier for retailers to access assured halal products. TraceTracker operates the Global Traceability Network, which was established in 2000 with the intention of making food products easier to trace. It already operates extensively in the seafood sector. The companies will introduce an online portal called Alfitrahnet, which will be dedicated to halal products globally. Under the system, which will be fully up and running for halal within the next three months, retailers will be able to go online to check the authenticity of products while suppliers will be able to register their products and certification on the system. The new company will be working with halal certification bodies in different countries to bring more parties on board. Research by CIMB PE revealed that many Muslims were spending money on kosher products, a factor that could be attributed to the lack of halal products available, company head Darawati Hussain said. Halal meat has traditionally lacked traceability. Yet trust and local knowledge were fundamental to the trade, said TraceTracker chairman Knut Jorstad. "What Alfitrahnet will enable suppliers to do is understand on a much wider scale how produce has been prepared," he said. "Also, as rules on the preparation of halal foods vary between countries and over borders, it will allow retailers to more easily source producers that adhere to their own particular requirements."