By Ilker Girit
The European Parliament on Wednesday will vote on whether to allow phosphate additives in doner kebab production, which concerns thousands of kebab-shop owners across Europe.
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 prepared a proposal to authorize the Turkish cuisine.
The Commission stated in its proposal 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, while 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 are 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.
On Wednesday, if a majority of the European Parliament votes for the proposal, kebab shops can keep using the additive.
The European Parliament said on Tuesday that if the proposal fell "this would mean a regulatory status quo, where the use of phosphate additives would continue to be unauthorized in kebab meat".
"It would mean business as usual for the sector, and for consumers," the statement added.
In this scenario, the Commission would have to prepare a new proposal. The European Food Safety Authority will re-evaluate its claims on the use of phosphate in meat products on Dec. 31.