The UAE has banned the import and sale of pork in the country as a precautionary measure against swine flu, according to a report from national newspaper Gulf News published earlier today.
Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority (ADFCA) communication and information department manager Mohammad Jalal Al Reyaysa told the paper that the General Secretariat of Municipalities [GSM] had issued a circular on Monday banning the import and sale of all types of pork across the country.
Al Reyaysa also said that the ban covered cooking the pork in hotels [for non-Muslims].
According to the article, the ADFCA official revealed that the GSM had already banned import of pork from Mexico and the US on Sunday, but had decided to implement a blanket ban because of the “alarming situation”.
"Only two outlets in Abu Dhabi have the license to sell pork for non-Muslims and our inspectors have already informed them to remove the pork from the shelves," Al Reyaysa was quoted as saying.
F&B INDUSTRY REACTIONS:
Anston Fivaz, complex executive chef, Mina Seyahi Complex
“As of now, there has being no official statement nor communication from the Dubai food control section regarding the usage or ban on pork products in Dubai based hotels and restaurants.
"I had a chefs forum today with fellow Starwood executive chefs, and it was mentioned that Abu Dhabi have put a ban in place. But I am still waiting to have conformation from Dubai Municipality [regarding] how this will impact our operations in Dubai.
"In the long run it could impact our business dramatically; we are mainly a European clientele-based hotel with a strong German, Russian and English market — how do you tell a German or an Englishman 'sorry, no bacon for breakfast'?"
Emily Mackintosh, general manager — communication, Australian Pork Limited
“I am under the understanding that no Australian pork is exported to the UAE, however ‘swine flu’ as an animal disease is not in Australian herds. Australia has never had a case of pig swine flu.
“The WHO is correct in its ruling that there is absolutely no way you can contract the disease through consuming pork and pork related products. The countries who have banned imports of pork and pork products have no foundation to do so. All that is doing is adding further unsubstantiated rumour and innuendo to the situation.
“It’s too early to say what impact this will have on sales of pork, but no doubt there will be some impact through people being misinformed. This is in fact a tragic situation for all pork producers world wide that are in fact suffering from name association of a flu virus.
“The original virus was from a swine sources but the virus HINI (swine flu) has mutated into humans and bears no resemblance to the flu currently being transmitted between humans."