When Turkish immigrants in Germany introduced a European spin on a classic homeland dish, the döner, no one could have predicted it would soon create a food craze not only in Germany, but around Europe and the world. Now that late night “snack” of choice is about to face its biggest challenge yet as the Döner, and the roughly 16,000 German restaurants that serve them, could soon face extinction as EU lawmakers look to push through a ban on the phosphates that make the kebabs what they are.
Food additives are a necessary evil in some of our favorite foods, and in the case of the döner, the added phosphates are what keep the heavily seasoned meat flavorful and juicy as it cooks on the rotisseries.Without them the meat would dry out and crumble. The additives are also not new in the world of German food though. Many of the iconic sausages being served up in Germany contain these phosphates as well, and the fact that the EU has made exceptions to allow their continued sale is only adding fuel to the fire.
A final vote on the döner’s fate could come in a matter of weeks, and attempts by the EU’s executive Commission to make an exception for lamb, mutton, beef or veal that is cooked on a shop spit, was just struck down, 32-22, during a vote by the parliament’s Health Committee this week.
In a statement given to Germany’s Bild newspaper, Kenan Koyuncu of the German Association of Döner Kebab Producers said that “if the European Parliament gets its way, this would be the death sentence for the entire döner kebab industry in the European Union.”