Dubai says no ban on alcohol in food

UPDATE 2: Food control chief says confusion caused by 'misunderstanding'; no change to rules.
Dubai says no ban on alcohol in food
BAN CONFUSION: A second official from Dubai Municipality said on Tuesday that there had been a misunderstanding about new rules regarding the cooking of food with alcohol. (Getty Images)
By Andy Sambidge and Elsa Baxter
Mon 22 Mar 2010 08:53 PM

A leading Dubai official confirmed on Tuesday there was no ban on the use of alcohol in the preparation of food, marking a u-turn over new rules issued in a circular to the emirate's hotels.

Khalid Mohammed Sharif al Awadhi, the director of the food control department, told Arabian Business: "It's a misunderstanding, it's not a ban. Alcohol should be segregated and it should be clear on the menu the food that has been prepared with alcohol. This was the confusion."

He said that food containing alcohol could still be served, provided it was clearly marked in Arabic and English on menus.

He said that some establishments had not been "following the code of practice" with regard to alcohol use, and that was why the circular was sent out last week as a warning, but that chefs had misinterpreted its meaning.

The circular, which has been seen by Arabian Business, clearly stated that the display and sale of food containing alcohol was “strictly prohibited”.

Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Ali, head of food inspection at the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality, told us earlier on Monday that there was a total ban on the use of alcohol in food, but said he did not think it would harm hotels.

Chefs told Arabian Business on Sunday they were expecting to receive a revised circular on Tuesday, but Al Ali ruled this out.

Al Ali said the reason for the clampdown of an existing law issued in 2003 was following a number of complaints from Muslims about alcohol in food.

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