After a Friday night out, many of us like to grab a good old kebab, but the EU says no.
The European Union is considering passing law to ban the popular snack because of the phosphates that it contains. The additive is currently allowed in fresh meat, but there is no explicit regulation on its use in frozen döner meat skewers as a means of retaining water and flavour in the meat.
The doner sandwich is in fact a recent European interpretation of the Turkish roast classic which was introduced to Germany by immigrants from Turkey. In recent years the ‘Berlin doner’ variety has even spread to London and New York, but it could be banned because of their links to cardiovascular disease.
There have been accusations of ‘doner discrimination’ because some sausages that contain phosphates would still be allowed.
The kebab issue came up when the EU’s executive Commission proposed to officially authorise the use of phosphates in the lamb, mutton, beef or veal that goes onto a shop spit.
Some other meats had previously received such clearance. The proposal ran into trouble in the European Parliament earlier this week when its Health Committee voted 32-22 to oppose it. The committee claimed there are “serious health concerns” surrounding the use of phosphate, citing a 2012 scientific review which linked the additive to heart disease.
Other assessments have however disputed the link. An EU citizen consumes as much phosphate in a whole year through the intake of döner as they would by drinking 1.5 litres of Coke.
A rejection by the full Parliament when it meets in two weeks would send the proposal back to the Commission – and keep the mighty kebab lingering in limbo.