S&Ds: We do not want kebabs to be banned, but we want them to be healthy


13 Dec 2017


Agriculture & Food
Health & Consumers

Strasbourg, 12 December 2017

The European Parliament has been asked to give its advice on whether phosphates should be allowed in certain foods. Today these additives are rarely used in most EU-countries, but in some member states they are being used mainly in frozen vertical meat spits such as the doner kebab.   

Before approving the European Commission’s request to allow phosphates as food additives, the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament want to have scientific information on their effects on human health.

S&D spokesperson on this topic, Christel Schaldemose MEP, said:

“Banning the kebab is not even an option, as some people have wrongly interpreted. First of all, phosphates are not used in traditional kebabs, but only in some cases to bind the meat together. Their water-retention properties can also artificially increase the weight of food.

"Whenever the Commission adds a substance to the list of additives permitted in food, three criteria must be fulfilled. 1) The additive cannot be considered to be harmful to human health, 2) there has to be a technological need that cannot be achieved by other measures and 3) it must not mislead the consumer. We believe that none of these criteria have been fulfilled."

The S&D spokesperson on health, Miriam Dalli MEP, said:

"We should always apply the precautionary principle. Added phosphates have been linked in several studies to an increased risk of cardiovascular problems, as well as kidney disease. Although the European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) opinion was inconclusive back in 2013, EFSA considers phosphate additives as a matter of high priority, due to be re-evaluated by the end of 2018."

"What we are simply doing is asking the Commission to wait one year, so that we can take an informed decision. As a matter of caution, the Parliament should be able to take EFSA’s re-evaluation into consideration. If it is proved that these additives are harmful, then citizens’ health must prevail. Frozen meat producers will just have to prepare their meat without phosphates, using the safer alternatives currently available on the market."





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