European MEP’s vote down phosphate ban

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

MEPs fail to secure absolute majority to block use of phosphates in kebabs ©Maria_Lapina/iStock
MEPs fail to secure absolute majority to block use of phosphates in kebabs ©Maria_Lapina/iStock

Related tags European union European parliament

The European Parliament has voted down proposals to block the use of phosphates in meat cooked on spits.

MEPs narrowly rejected an objection to proposals from the European Commission to allow phosphates to be used as additives in products such as donor kebabs.

The use of “frozen vertical meat spits​” is not currently authorised under EU law. Nevertheless, according to the Greens in the European Parliament, the meat industry has “for a long time”​ been using phosphate additives in kebabs “on a large scale”​.

The EC wants to legalise this practice and introduced a draft regulation that would permit phosphoric acid, phosphates and polyphosphates as food additives in these meat preparations.

The objection was raised by Green/EFA MEP Bart Staes and the Socialists & Democrat’s Christel Schaldemose. They said a ban on phosphates would “protect public health”​.

In order to overrule the Commission, Staes and Schaldermose required the backing of an absolute majority of MEPs plus one, meaning at least 376 votes. During the vote on Wednesday (13 December), 373 MEPs rejected the EC proposal by backing the objection, while 272 MEPs voted in favour of allowing phosphates in meat cooked on skewers, while 30 abstained.

‘Hands off the kebab’ – EPP Group

Ahead of the vote, the rightward-leaning EPP Group vowed to support the European Commission's proposal to authorise the use of phosphates in frozen meat spits.

“The EPP Group will do everything in its power to stop the scaremongering and avoid a European kebab ban,"​ said Renate Sommer MEP, the EPP Group's spokeswoman for the file.

Sommer said the group it was resisting the proposal because research suggests the level of phosphates contained in kebabs is “negligible"​ – while the average intake of phosphates from Coca-Cola is “much higher”.

"The changes in the EU legislation concerning phosphates are meant to make it more difficult for the control authorities in ​Member States to impose such a ban without concrete argumentation, and are hence necessary,”​ Sommer argued.

Is there a health risk?

The EPP Group also maintains no evidence supports the suggestion that consumption of phosphates represents a risk to health.

"There is no proof that phosphates have negative health effects,”​ Sommer insisted.

However, the Greens maintain there are “serious concerns​” over the health implications.

“Our objection to the Commission’s proposals is nothing to do with wanting to ban kebabs. We want people to be able to enjoy all their favourite foods, but without the addition of potentially dangerous and unnecessary food additives.”

The European Food Safety Authority is currently reviewing the health risks associated with phosphate additives. Its findings will be published before the end of next year.

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Study: Natural Preservation Is What Consumers Want

Study: Natural Preservation Is What Consumers Want

Content provided by Corbion | 11-Jun-2024 | White Paper

If you’ve been trying to decide between the consumer appeal of a natural solution and the efficacy of a conventional preservative, there's good news....

Enhance Your Product Line with Non-GMO Lecithin

Enhance Your Product Line with Non-GMO Lecithin

Content provided by ADM | 09-May-2024 | Product Brochure

Unlock the full potential of your formulations with ADM's plant-based lecithins! Our diverse product range delivers the consistent functionality you...

Take Control with Predictive Modeling from Corbion

Take Control with Predictive Modeling from Corbion

Content provided by Corbion | 26-Apr-2024 | White Paper

Increased demand for uncured, higher pH formulations and natural products has made the challenge of controlling Listeria difficult. The good news: the...

Life is better with more fizz

Life is better with more fizz

Content provided by CO2Sustain | 19-Apr-2024 | Product Brochure

We make carbonated soft drinks fizzier for longer, so your consumers enjoy the best possible drink experience from their first to very last sip.

Follow us

Products

View more

Webinars