Dubai Lifts Ban on Restaurants That Cook With Alcohol

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

The liberal Gulf emirate announced 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 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 labeled, 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 license are allowed to serve alcohol, approached the municipality asking for a review of the decision, which they said threatened their industry.

Islam, the main religion the United Arab Emirates' population, bans the production, sale and consumption of alcohol.