Döner Kebab Shop in Istanbul - © Matt @ PEK on Wikipedia Commons

EU Doner Ban: Madness In Their Method?

The European Parliament is treading on thin ice, considering a ban on a dish described as ‘wildly popular’ across the EU: Doner Kebabs. And the controversial move is raising political as well as consumer hackles. It’s a classic example of politicians ploughing ahead without considering the consequences…

Döner Kebab Shop in Istanbul - Large - © Matt @ PEK on Wikipedia CommonsA Doner Kebab shop in Instanbul…

Doner Kebabs are a tradition in Turkey and other Middle Eastern countries, and have been brought to the rest of the world by immigrants who’ve given us the best of their cultures. The dish is basically a folded Pita stuffed with the Meat, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Pickles and Onions. Maybe other stuff, if it’s available. Reminds you of an unrolled Shawarma.

It’s estimated that millions of Doners are made and sold daily across there EU alone. But there’s a hitch… The meat used in them is traditionally prepared with phosphates, which are in the process of being banned in the EU. That’s billed as a health priority, but it’s making lovers of traditional foods in the region very angry. Already, phosphates have been banned in Sausages, which contain much more phosphate than Doner Meat.

The medical angle…

The medical world insists that phosphates are dangerous, a causative factor in chronic kidney and heart disease. But the Doner tradition calls for addition of only one gram of phosphates per 10 pounds of meat. How harmful can that be? Common sense says that shouldn’t stop me from eating the stuff. Heck! Bacon, Hot Dogs and other prepared meats have more phosphate in them than that. I don’t hear anyone talking about banning them. The medical advice is, ‘consume in moderation’.

Doner Meat without phosphates?

Aficionados and traditional Kebab makers agree it just wouldn’t be the same. The flavour and the cooking characteristics of the Meat would change for the worse. Besides, it would break a tradition that’s at least a thousand years old. It’s hard to argue that the proposed ban is making things better, especially when it attacks at least one member nation’s heritage.

The politics are bitter

Germany is home to many Turkish immigrants. And it’s a hotbed of Kebab fever. German Doner Kebab purveyors are saying it’s a move to ‘hurt Turkish businesses’. They call it ‘Doner discrimination’. An estimated 200,000 jobs at Doner shops across the EU are on the line. With all the divisiveness over immigration and discrimination these days, does the EU really need another divisive issue?

~ Maggie J.