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Possible "Health Hazard" Due to Phosphates Doner Dispute reality

Possible “Health Hazard” Due to Phosphates Doner Dispute reality

Possible “Health Hazard” Due to Phosphates Doner Dispute reality

Will the kebab banished from Europe? Actually, an EU committee only wanted to close a legal loophole. Then there was a discussion about phosphate additives in food. By the end of 2018, the spits could stand still.

 That there are healthier foods than kebab should probably not surprise anyone. So far, however, health-conscious people have been betting on fatty sauces, greasy meat, too much meat at all. Now, the kebab could be banned in the EU for another reason: phosphates. These are additives that are not only found in kebab skewers, but also in many other meat and sausage products, cakes, coke, canned fish and other foods.

By binding water, phosphates bring several benefits to the food industry: they increase weight, actually make dry meat juicier and combine pieces of meat together. However, studies also indicate that increased phosphate levels in the body can damage the heart, kidneys and circulation . The fact that just the kebab skewer therefore gets problems, has to do with bad luck.

Frozen raw meat as a legal loophole

Actually, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety only wanted to close a legal loophole with regard to doner kebabs this week. The use of phosphates in edible foods has been allowed and regulated in Europe for years, and this also applies to goner kebab meat. However, the scheme forgot to include phosphate additives in raw, frozen meat.

The raw doner kebab delivered to the takeaway is unlikely to contain any added phosphate.

Instead of closing this gap, however, Green and Social Democrats filed an appeal, with success. The decision on the legality of the skewers was postponed. The reason: The European Food Safety Authority Efsa is currently investigating whether there is new scientific evidence on the health risk of phosphate additives. This is a fundamental process, which does not only refer to the doner meat. The result should be available at the end of 2018.

Only then will the European Parliament again decide on the skewers. Until then, everything stays as it is. “Doner kebabs can be produced and sold as before, and nobody has to do without their kebab or gyros,” explains Susanne Melior, SPD MEP from the responsible committee.

When it comes to health, there should be no hurry, said spokeswoman Miriam Dalli of the European Socialists in a press release . Others, however, are critical of the Döner discussion, especially against the backdrop of the widespread use of phosphates in the food industry.

Renate Sommer, for example, regrets the decision of the Environment Committee. The CDU’s MEP sees an entire branch of the restaurant at risk – and not the health of doner koppers.

Ban would lead to the cessation of kebab production

“Without Phosphatzusatz the spits would crumble during grilling and would be inside even raw, even if the outside would be almost burned,” said MEP Sommer in a Facebook post. There are no technical alternatives. For this reason, a ban on the additive would bring the kebab production to a standstill.

Sommer also commented on a possible health risk: “The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) classifies intake of up to 4200 mg of phosphate per day as harmless,” she describes the current recommendations. “One serving of kebab contains just 134 mg of phosphate.” For comparison, a glass of cola (0.3 liters) may contain up to 210 milligrams of phosphate.

Even apart from doner kebab and cola, it is hardly possible for consumers to avoid added phosphates. The food packaging contains phosphates under the additive numbers E338 to E341, E343 and E450 to E452. A particularly critical view is worthwhile with ham, sausage, but also canned fish and baked goods. However, in what quantities the substances are contained, the consumer does not learn.

So, if phosphate is more dangerous than previously thought, then the EU should fundamentally rethink its regulations – not ban one single food.

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