Dubai puts alcohol back in food

2010-03-23 17:04

Dubai - The Dubai municipality has retracted a decision to ban restaurants from using alcohol in the preparation of dishes, The National daily reported on Tuesday.

The liberal Gulf emirate had announced on Sunday it would enforce a 2003 law banning alcohol in food preparation, based on complaints from Muslim clients who were not warned that dishes in some restaurants contained alcohol.

But it now appears Dubai has changed its mind.

Khaled Sharif al-Awadhi, director of Dubai municipality's food control department, said food containing alcohol could be served on condition it was segregated from other food and clearly labelled, The National reported.

"We have found violations where hotels are not clearly stating alcohol content in their food," it quoted him as saying. Awadhi added that alcohol should be handled like other "non-halal products" such as pork.

The newspaper said chefs in Dubai, where restaurants in hotels with a licence are allowed to serve alcohol, had approached the municipality asking for a review of the decision, which they said threatened their industry.

Islam, the main religion of the local population of the United Arab Emirates of which Dubai is a member, bans the production, sale and consumption of alcohol.