Dubai: Officials have announced new food safety rules for three-star hotels and luxury hotel apartments in Dubai.

The rules are part of Dubai Municipality’s ‘action plan’ against health threats linked to poor hygiene in hotel kitchens and restaurants.

However, the multi-phase plan will only be implemented in full by September 2013, the civic body said in a statement.

The first phase of the campaign has already been initiated with the appointment of a food safety Person in Charge (PIC) at food establishments. The move comes in the wake of a number of food poisoning cases — a few of them fatal — that prompted deliberations among officials on whom to hold accountable for the incidents.

Municipality figures show that 95 per cent of establishments now have a PIC. The PICs will receive training and certification from the municipality and its partners.

The second phase of the initiative targets basic food safety in the kitchen, with programmes related to hygiene, pest control and handling of raw materials also being finetuned.

The final phase of the action plan, which is expected to be fully in place by September 2013, will see specific guidelines related to proper handling, storage and cooking temperatures among other factors for different food categories like fruits or meat.

Three-star hotels make up 38 per cent of all hotels in Dubai, according to official figures. Representatives from 75 three-star hotels and luxury hotel apartments were briefed on the development recently by the municipality.

“Dubai Municipality is always keen on maintaining the food safety level in Dubai by implementing best practices, awareness activities and, of course, by certain rules and regulations. As these establishments are considered one of the prime faces of the emirate from a tourist’s point of view, we have to be more careful about any possible risks,” said Sultan Taher, head of the municipality’s Food Inspection Section.