European Parliament’s doner kebab bid defeated

A majority of European Parliament members on Wednesday voted in favor of banning phosphate additives in doner kebabs but could not collect enough votes to pass the proposal.

Needing an absolute majority of at least 376 votes in the general assembly, the legislation that concerns thousands of kebab-shop owners across Europe fell three votes short.

The European People's Party (EPP) group, which opposes the proposal, said banning phosphates in kebabs "was unjustified since the food additive is used in other foods as well".

The use of phosphate in meat products is banned by EU regulations.

However, doner kebabs -- defined by the EU as frozen vertical meat spits -- have not been listed in this legislation, therefore the European Commission had prepared a proposal to cover the Turkish cuisine.

The Commission stated that the use of phosphates is a technological need "to bind pieces of meat together, and allow them to thaw, and cook homogenously on a spit".

However, the proposal triggered trouble in the European Parliament last week when its health committee voted against it by 32-22.

The committee claimed the use of phosphate additives in kebab meat would lead to heart disease, although the Commission considered it would not affect consumer health.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on Tuesday, Kenan Koyuncu of the German Association of Doner Kebab Producers said tens of thousands of people were employed in the multi-billion-euro industry in Europe.

Stating about 100,000 people are working in the $16.5 billion kebab industry, Koyuncu warned any decision would affect the whole economy.

The European Commission may submit new proposals on phosphate additives after the European Food Safety Agency releases a new study next year.

Source: Anadolu Agency