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MEPs move to ban use of phosphates in kebabs

MEPs move to ban use of phosphates in kebabs


(BRUSSELS) - The European Parliament could veto a Commission proposal to allow phosphates in kebab meat, following serious concerns over a potential link between phosphates used as food additives and heart disease.

Parliament's Health Committee have objected to the proposal which would allow the use of phosphoric acid, di and tri phosphates and polyphosphates (E 338-452) in kebab meat - be it mutton, lamb, veal, beef or poultry.

EU rules do not generally permit the use of phosphate additives in meat preparations. But due to an accumulation of exceptions, they are increasingly being used in them, to protect flavour and retain water.

If Parliament as a whole backs the committee's objection by an absolute majority (376 votes), the proposal will be blocked and the Commission will have to go back to the drawing board.

Evidence is inconclusive. A 2012 scientific review showed a potential link between phosphate additives in food with increased cardiovascular risk.

A European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment stated on the other hand that it is not possible to attribute this risk to phosphorus intake in general or phosphate additives.

However, another scientific study from 2013 also suggested a link between high-phosphorus diets and increased mortality in the US population.

Parliament as a whole will now have a vote at its 11 to 14 December plenary session in Strasbourg. The European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) has said that it will re-evaluate the safety of phosphates food additives by 31 December 2018.

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