Sunday, 21 March 2010

Dubai issues 'alcohol in food' ban to hotels

Ah well, there go the rum balls....
Source: 21 March 2010

Dubai Municipality has issued a letter banning the use of alcohol in cooking in a move that could potentially be a big blow for the city’s restaurants and hotels.  Alcohol is 'strictly prohibited' in the preparation of food, the official letter said. However, the move has sparked mass confusion in the industry leading to officials to rethink the ban. They are now set to issue revised restrictions on Tuesday, sources said.
The letter, a copy of which has been seen by Arabian Business, states the use of alcohol in the preparation and cooking of food, and the display and sale of food containing alcohol was “strictly prohibited”.
It is reinforcing an existing law issued in 2003. Muhammed Khalid Saeed, food health inspection officer at the Food Control Department at the municipality was not available for comment.
David O’Brien, operations director of Caprice Holdings, which runs the Rivington Grill restaurant in Souq Al Bahar, said he did not know why the law was now being fully enforced.
“It just means that it limits the scope of what we can serve. To do some dishes you need to have alcohol, like a coq au vin needs red wine, or beer for a traditional beer batter. It limits the repertoire.
He said the Rivington Grill was still using alcohol in some of its dishes until further clarification from the municipality. But, some hotels have already implemented the ban.
Uwe Micheel, president of the Emirates Culinary Guild and director of kitchens at the Radisson Blu Dubai Creek, said he thought the ban would be dropped but stricter rules brought in.
“We’ve spoken with the municipality and right now it’s going to be reconsidered and a new circular issued on Tuesday. It will not be as tough but there will be some restrictions coming,” he said.
“The way I see it, most probably, there will have to be a separate menu for dishes cooked with alcohol and separate storage – much like the restrictions that exist for pork.
“They don’t want to hurt the industry but they get a lot of complaints from Muslims about too much mixing of alcohol on menus.”

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