European Parliament fails to pass phosphate kebab ban

EPA-EFE/LISI NIESNER ILLUSTRATION

A view of a doener kebab in Vienna, Austria, 03 December 2017.

European Parliament fails to pass phosphate kebab ban


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What's This?

The European Parliament has marginally defeated plans to ban phosphates, an additive that is considered key in frozen meat for the popular döner kebab.

Requiring an absolute majority +1, meaning a majority of at least 376 votes was needed if the EU legislative body was to outvote the European Commission’s proposal on the issue. The Berlaymont proposed the extension of the possibility to use the food additive called phosphate which is necessary for certain spits meat preparations, such as kebabs, enabling the homogeneous freezing which prevents the risk of unbalanced heat-treatment thus ensuring the roast meat strips served to consumers are safe.

The initial proposal of the European Parliament’s Health Committee was to reject the Commission’s proposal after MEPs raised concerns about the impacts of phosphates that are used as food additives. Finally, Wednesday’s vote was 373 MEPs willing to reject the proposal of the European Commission, 272 MEPs voted against, while 30 abstained.

According to the European Parliament, if the European Commission’s proposal would not pass, “this would mean a regulatory status quo, where the use of phosphate additives would continue to be unauthorised in kebab meat. It would mean business as usual for the sector, and for consumers.”

At this point, the EU executive would have to table a new proposal that in case of being rejected as well, would mean that the European Commission could authorise the use of the additives for kebab meat. “Like for any other additive allowed on the EU single market, if a health concern were to arise, for example, due to the outcome of the study being undertaken by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), the authorisation would have to be reconsidered, as stated in legislation,” concludes the Parliament’s note.

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