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The EU Is Considering Banning Doner Kebabs, Vendors Cry Foul

A vote in the European Parliament this week could result in the EU banning doner kebabs, and vendors who sling out the late-night favorite are not happy.

banning doner kebabs
Photo: Matt @ PEK on Wikimedia Commons

The proposed resolution, put forth by the Socialist and Green groups, blocks a move by the EU to allow and regulate the use of phosphates in doner kebab meat. Currently, the same is being done with processed meats like sausages, but phosphates are already technically banned in the EU. The ban just isn't enforced, and the new proposal looks to do just that.

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Currently, the EU doesn't have other alternatives to phosphates as a binder in doner kebab meat, but the BBC reports that health warnings link the additives to chronic kidney and heart disease. Vendors don't need to use that much to keep their meat juicy and to retain water, with one just adding one gram of phosphate to 10 kilograms of meat.

Some of these vendors are accusing the EU of "doner discrimination." The kebab is wildly popular across the EU, especially Germany, but was invented by a Turkish immigrant in Berlin. Some are thus seeing the ban as a move to "hurt Turkish businesses," as one shop owner told Business Insider.

Currently, the resolution would affect at least 200,000 jobs, and the sales of millions of kebabs daily would be suspended until either phosphates were taken out of the meats or the rules changed. The EU Parliament is set to vote on it later this week.