Dubai Hotels and Restaurants Given One Month to Stop Using Alcohol in Food
Dubai hotels have been given one month to stop using alcohol as an ingredient in their food dishes on their restaurant menus for guests enjoying Dubai holidays or business trips and hoteliers could face fines up to AED500.000 if the ban is violated.
The clampdown on using alcohol in food has been reinstated from the original 2003 ban because a number of Muslims taking luxury holidays in Dubai complained about the alcohol in a range of different dishes on hotel menus.
Head of food inspection at the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality, Ahmed Abdul Rahman Al Ali, said:
"I don't think it will affect businesses or tourism. There are a lot of different meals from around the world catered for in Dubai's restaurants, so the choice will still be there. Also, some dishes can change alcohol for a different flavour to get the same taste."
The fines will be enforced if Dubai hotels ignore the ban and will range from AED2,000 to AED20,000 with a large AED500,000 fine for those who repeatedly offend.
Al Ali added with regards to the fines:
"But we don't want to go to that level. We don't want businesses to go under. We are not looking for the fines at the moment. The inspectors will decide whether they get a notice period of one month."
Some luxury hotels and Dubai restaurants have already enforced the alcohol ban and many others are still waiting for officials to visit the premises.
Many foreign Muslims on luxury Dubai holidays are not aware of the number of dishes which use alcohol as ingredients.
Al Ali said:
"We found a lot of violations. Some local Muslims, and foreign Muslims visiting Dubai, were surprised that the food they ordered had alcohol. In some cases they did not realise that what they had ordered contained alcohol because of the way it was written on the menu."
The municipality sent a circular out to Dubai restaurants and hotels stating that it is strictly prohibited to use alcohol in the preparation of and cooking of food and the sale of any food containing alcohol.
Though there are many other travellers aside from Muslims taking Dubai holidays or luxury holidays in the region, it is important to ensure that the Islamic beliefs are taken into consideration.
However, this can cause problems for some luxury or specialist restaurants who rely on alcohol to flavour their signature dishes.
General Manager of Verre by Gordon Ramsey, Luca Gagliardi, said:
"This law will affect our restaurant very much because we do use alcohol in some of our signature dishes, like the terrine of foie gras marinated in Sauternes and the Madeira veloute that we serve with our pithivier of quail."
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