Doner discrimination: New EU legislation could ban kebabs from circulation
Brexit may represent the only hope of saving the meaty treat, because EU politicians are calling for a ban on phosphates - which are key to keeping the huge slabs of rotating meat moist. The proposal was made after health regulators warned that phosphates may be linked to heart disease.
More than 20,000 outlets in the UK sell an average of 1.3 million kebabs every single day. It is believed that up to 200,000 people work in the sector across the EU.
"If the European Parliament gets its way, this would be the death sentence for the entire doner-kebab industry in the European Union," said Kenan Koyuncu of the German Association of Doner Kebab Producers, according to the Associated Press.
The motion has sparked accusations that the EU is being hypocritical because it still allows the sale of some types of sausages containing phosphates. The disparity has led some to claim the move amounts to “doner discrimination” and that it deliberately aims to damage Turkish-owned businesses.
"They are looking for ways to hurt Turkish businesses here," Berlin kebab bistro owner Baris Donmez told the news wire. "Such a ban would be the biggest pile of garbage imaginable."
Kebabs were introduced to the German capital of Berlin by Turkish immigrants.
Renate Sommer, a member of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative party, wrote on Facebook that "a ban of the phosphate addition would be the end of doner production and would lead to the loss of thousands of jobs."
The EU Parliament is due to hold a vote on the issue in two weeks. It is the second time in just a couple of months doners have made headlines.
At the end of October, Tory international trade minister Greg Hands was branded ‘ignorant’ for tweeting a picture of a German kebab shop in London with the caption: “How long before we have German fish & chips?”
Kebab-savvies responded by pointing out that the doner kebab was invented by a Turkish immigrant, Kadir Nurman, in West Berlin in 1972.
One Twitter user wrote: “Want to read back your job title Greg and maybe rethink this tweet?”
Author Ned Boulting added: “Are you stupid?”