Abu Dhabi issues guidelines for serving kosher food in hotels

Agriculture and Food Safety Authority will conduct checks to ensure food meets quality standards

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Food safety chiefs in Abu Dhabi have set out a plan to ensure quality standards are followed by hotel restaurants serving kosher products.

Abu Dhabi’s Agriculture and Food Safety Authority will oversee provision of food produced in accordance with Jewish dietary rules.

Last September, hotels in Abu Dhabi were asked to serve kosher food by the capital’s tourism board as part of a drive to attract more Israeli visitors.

The move came after the UAE and Israel signed the Abraham Accord to normalise relations between the nations.

The Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi said hotels were “advised to include kosher food options” on room service menus and at all food and beverage outlets.

Establishments were encouraged to seek certification for handling kosher meals.

On Sunday, the food safety authority said it would be responsible for ensuring restaurants and other eateries complied with Emirates Agency for Kosher Certification requirements.

The body will also instruct such establishments to label products as kosher and serve them in designated area.

The authority will be checking the health and safety standards of kosher products to be sold to the public.

What does kosher food mean?

The term kosher means fit or acceptable. It refers to the kashrut, or Jewish dietary rules.

Pork and shellfish cannot be included in a kosher diet and meat and dairy products cannot be prepared, cooked or served in the same meal or eaten together.

This means serving lasagne, cheeseburgers and blue cheese on steak is out.

There are three categories, covering dairy, meat and “parve”, respectively.

Parve, also spelt pareve, is food that is free of dairy and meat, such as fish, fruit, grain, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and eggs.

What are the specifics on kosher meat, dairy and other food?

Kosher meat must come from animals that have split hooves and chew their cud, such as cows, sheep, deer and goats.

Birds such as chickens, ducks and turkeys are allowed, but eating birds of prey is prohibited.

The rules regarding meat also govern gravy, broth, bones and gelatin.

These must come from an animal slaughtered by having its blood drained in a manner that was quick and painless.

Other creatures that are off-limits include camels, reptiles, rodents, insects and kangaroos.