Germans fear for future of döner kebab after proposed change to EU rules

Edited by walterp on . Posted in Gesundheit

The EU Parliament is deliberating a ban on the ingredient phosphate in frozen kebab meat, threatening the very future of Germany’s cherished döner, Bild reported on Thursday.

Blaming “socialists and greens” on the EU Parliament’s Health Committee, Germany’s largest selling daily newspaper claimed that “döner kebabs are about to be put through the mincer.”

The Health Committee on Tuesday objected to a proposal by the European Commission (EC) to allow frozen döner meat to contain phosphate. The additive is currently allowed in fresh meat, but there is no explicit regulation on its use in frozen döner meat.

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.

The EU Parliament will debate the proposal by the end of the year, and if an absolute majority rejects the EC’s decision a new law will have to be written.

Phosphate is currently used in the frozen döner skewers as a means of retaining water and flavour in the meat.

Bild points out that some of its other favourite fast foods have already had the okay from the EU parliament to contain phosphate: the additive was given the green light to be used in pork chops and bratwurst back in 2014.

“This is a clear case of discrimination against döner,” the tabloid complains.

And as trivial as the issue might seem, Bild reports that 110,000 jobs in Germany are reliant on the döner kebab. Of the 500 tonnes of döner produced in the EU every day, 80 percent is made in Germany – and almost all of this meat is delivered frozen.

“This could ring the death knell for the entire döner industry in the EU,” Kenan Koyuncu, chairman of the Federal Association of Döner Producers told the tabloid.

Meanwhile, Renate Sommer, health spokeswoman for the Christian Democrats, accused the Green party of “fear mongering.”

“An EU citizen consumes as much phosphate in a whole year through the intake of döner as they would by drinking 1.5 liters of Coke,” she told Bild.


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