Possible veto on allowing phosphate additives in kebabs, pending safety review  

Parliament will decide on Tuesday whether to veto an EU Commission proposal to allow phosphates in kebab meat out of health concerns.

Amid concerns about the health impact of phosphates, MEPs will vote on Tuesday on a Commission proposal to 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.

Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee MEPs recommended that Parliament should block plans to allow the use of these phosphates in kebab meat, at least until the results of a scientific study done by the European Food Safety Agency are known. If Parliament as a whole backs the committee’s objection by an absolute majority (376 votes), the proposal will be blocked and the EU Commission will have to go back to the drawing board.

EU rules do not allow the use of phosphate additives in meat preparations placed on the single market, unless explicitly listed in legislation. This listing is subject to three conditions: that there is a technological need, there is no health risk and its use does not mislead the consumer. The Commission proposal would add “frozen vertical meat spits” to this list.

Quick facts

MEPs point out that a 2012 scientific review showed a potential link between phosphate additives in food with increased cardiovascular risk. However, a  European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) assessment however stated that it is not possible to attribute this risk to phosphorus intake in general or to phosphate additives. But another scientific study from 2013 also suggested a link between high-phosphorus diets and increased mortality in the US population.

Procedure:  Legislative resolution


Vote:  Tuesday, 12 December

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