UAE | Government

Tough penalties for flouting rules on pork sales

Dubai Municipality issues warning following public complaints about some hotels

  • By Mariam M. Al Sekal, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:22 February 4, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: Francois Nel/Gulf News Archives
  • A non-halal section at a supermarket. Municipality rules clearly state that pork products should not come into contact with surfaces of utensils or equipment used for other food products.

Dubai: Authorities have warned food establishments to abide by the rules when handling and selling pork products to avoid facing hefty fines and having their licences revoked.

Some residents said they were shocked last week to find that restaurants in five-star hotels along the Jumeirah Beach Residence community failed to adhere to municipal standards and used the same kitchen equipment on halal products after slicing pork products.

“I ordered a halal pizza and, as we were seated by the open kitchen, I could clearly see that the same cutter was used for a pork pizza that was delivered to the table beside mine. The chef also did not use any gloves and did not wash his hands. How is it halal then if, after I requested to see the kitchen, the waiter clearly stated that they had a separate room to cut pork but were not using it,” asked a worried resident, who wished to remain anonymous.

When approached by Gulf News, an official from Dubai Municipality said severe action will be taken against any restaurant that does not strictly adhere to the rules and regulations pertaining to pork products.

“A food retail outlet needs a permit to sell pork items, and when they acquire one, they are fully informed about the requirements they have to adhere to if they do not want their licence revoked,” said Bobby Thulasi, senior food studies and surveys officer at the Food Control Department of Dubai Municipality.

According to an external circular that was released by the municipality in 2009, all food establishments involved in importing, selling, preparing or serving pork products have to provide storage facilities that are clearly labelled and separated from those used for other foodstuff.

The circular also states that “pork products should not come into contact with surfaces of utensils or equipment that are used for other food products”, and that “separate, colour-coded cutting boards and knives shall be used for pork products.”

“Restaurants need special areas to handle pork products and the cutting booth and equipment should be in a separate area as well. Knives and other equipment have to be disinfected before they are used for other products. And these codes have to be strictly adhered to,” Thulasi said.

“Once these incidents are reported, our inspectors will immediately visit the site and, if there are any violations, the establishment can be fined from Dh5,000 to Dh20,000, depending on the gravity of the situation,” he added.

Comments (13)

  1. Added 13:57 February 5, 2013

    It's a very common practice in some big restaurants which is why we wont visit restaurants who serve pork and alcohol.

    Sohail, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:50 February 5, 2013

    Muslims are forbidden to consume or even come in contact with pork meat and i believe even if one does not eat this meat for the period he is going to stay in this Muslim country does not mean the world in going to come crumbling on him or her, it won’t be the end of the world. Why the Authorities even license it to be sold here at all? How if allowed would a guest understand and respect the culture and the religion of the people if the difference remains the same? Its one item of food amongst plenty which its absence on the menu will not even be noticed.

    Khak Moze, SHARJAH, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 13:00 February 5, 2013

    As a Christian who has lived his entire life in Dubai and eats pork, I find this disappointing, but we should consider this as an alarm bell for establishments selling pork, not as a reason to outright ban it. I agree that people should be careful when handling products like pork inside the kitchen and I agree that there should be separate spaces for the handling of halal and non-halal products. But let's not forget that the UAE is a country built on a very strong multicultural identity and some of these cultures rely on pork as their main source of animal protein. Let's just pray to God that the mishandlings don't happen ever again.

    Michel Sabbagh, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  4. Added 12:45 February 5, 2013

    I think the municipality should take strict action against those who are violating the rules, i would suggest to these outlets that not only the kitchen or utensils should be separate the butcher also should be exclusively for the pork.

    Mohammad Tariq, Fujairah, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 12:45 February 5, 2013

    Authorities needs to inform all consumers and departments strictly about halal and haram food all over the country.

    Rumana, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 12:24 February 5, 2013

    Pork should only be sold at separate specialized shops

    kiyasudeen, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 12:13 February 5, 2013

    i have to agree with all of you. we all come from different religion and different race. But we should keep in mind that we are staying in a Muslim country and we should follow and abide by the rules and regulations. this retaurants / groceries should be fined or closed down.

    jestin, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 12:09 February 5, 2013

    Thats a problem indeed! I agree with Rafi that pork should only be sold at specialized shops, where only people who consume pork can go.

    Sidra, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 11:40 February 5, 2013

    This is the same with Supermarkets. Though they have separate area to keep Pork, they use the same carts and counter for billing other halal products. Why allow so many outlets in a single place? This problem could be easily sorted by having separate outlets for pork products, so that only people who need to buy have to visit it. I think survey officers should also be made responsible to make sure that there is no violations rather than waiting for some one to complain.

    Rafi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 10:33 February 5, 2013

    I've experienced also eating without knowing that it has an added seasoning containing pork! from then on we dont go to that restaurant anymore and some say that they really serve pork if any custumer asked for it.

    jasmine, dubai, United Arab Emirates

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