DUBAI// Hotels and restaurants must immediately stop selling food containing alcohol, officials warned today. The municipality said it sent a circular to all food establishments in Dubai last week ordering them to stop the sale of any dishes containing alcohol. A regulation banning alcohol in food was introduced in 2003, but it is widely ignored, said Ahmed al Ali, the head of food inspections at the municipality. The circular is designed to reinforce the existing legislation. "There have been a lot of violations, with hotels often hiding content of alcohol in food from customers," said Mr al Ali. "This is a Muslim society and visitors to our hotels are our guests. It is important to ensure they are informed about everything." The circular was partially the result of complaints from restaurant customers, he said. Hotels and restaurants must remove the offending items from their menus even if their alcohol content is clearly displayed in labels. "They can't sell it even if they mention it," said Mr al Ali. "Serving alcohol in hotels is different and that can be done by getting a permit. However, alcohol in food is not permitted."