Blaming “socialists and greens” on the EU Parliament’s Health Committee, Germany’s largest selling daily newspaper claimed that “döner kebabs are about to be put through the mincer.”
The Health Committee on Tuesday objected to a proposal by the European Commission (EC) to allow frozen döner meat to contain phosphate. The additive is currently allowed in fresh meat, but there is no explicit regulation on its use in frozen döner meat.
The committee claimed there are “serious health concerns” surrounding the use of phosphate, citing a 2012 scientific review which linked the additive to heart disease. Other assessments have however disputed the link.
The EU Parliament will debate the proposal by the end of the year, and if an absolute majority rejects the EC’s decision a new law will have to be written.
Phosphate is currently used in the frozen döner skewers as a means of retaining water and flavour in the meat.
But Susanne Melior, an SPD politician in the European Parliament on Thursday rejected the notion that the döner was under threat.
She said that the Health Committee raised the objection because it wanted to wait on an EU study into phosphate before green lighting a change in the law. The study is set to release its findings next year.
“Nothing is happening and no döner kebab is in danger, so naturally no jobs are in danger either,” she said.
“At the moment we just want to wait until the results of the study are published. Why would we make the use of phosphate more explicit before we have seen the results?” she told Tagespiegel.
Melior also cautioned though, that if the EU report assesses phosphate as a health risk, many more foods than just döner could face tighter regulations.
Phosphate is an additive in many foods from cake to sausage.
Bild pointed out in its report out that some of its other favourite fast foods have already had the okay from the EU parliament to contain phosphate: the additive was given the green light to be used in pork chops and bratwurst back in 2014.
“This is a clear case of discrimination against döner,” the tabloid complained.
And as trivial as the issue might seem, Bild reports that 110,000 jobs in Germany are reliant on the döner kebab. Of the 500 tonnes of döner produced in the EU every day, 80 percent is made in Germany – and almost all of this meat is delivered frozen.
“This could ring the death knell for the entire döner industry in the EU,” Kenan Koyuncu, chairman of the Federal Association of Döner Producers told the tabloid.
Meanwhile, Renate Sommer, health spokeswoman for the Christian Democrats, accused the Green party of “fear mongering.”
“An EU citizen consumes as much phosphate in a whole year through the intake of döner as they would by drinking 1.5 litres of Coke,” she told Bild.
Source : The Local Germany
Spectators at the World Cup next year will be allowed to fly rainbow flags during matches, a top Russian football official said Thursday.
Despite a law in Russia prohibiting gay propaganda, World Cup ambassador Alexei Smertin said at a Moscow news conference on discrimination that rainbow flags would be tolerated.
“There will definitely be no ban on wearing rainbow symbols in Russia,” Smertin was cited as saying by the Associated Press. “It’s clear you can come here and not be fined for expressing feelings.”
“The law is about propaganda to minors…I can’t imagine that anyone is going to go into a school and speak,” Smertin said, adding it was unlikely that gay fans would be found in infringement of the law.
Russia passed the legislation in 2013, which led to the banning of gay pride events and discussions of gay rights where children might be present.
Russian officials took a similar stance on the issue ahead of Sochi hosting the 2014 Olympic Games. President Putin had then said that gay people would be welcome in the city but must “leave the children in peace.”
Source : The Moscow Times
Russian state companies will no longer be required to disclose the names of their contractors, making it easier for businesses to avoid being targeted by U.S. sanctions or cover up corrupt practices.
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree on Monday and the secrecy measure will last until July 1, 2018, the Vedomosti business daily reported Thursday.
Under the new rules, state firms can hide internal financial transactions and contractors can do business with companies under sanctions without the risk of being caught, a source close to the state-owned Rosneft oil giant told Vedomosti.
The U.S. listed 33 Russian defense companies and six intelligence organizations as potential targets of new restrictions in retaliation for Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 election and its support for regional conflicts.
American companies could be banned from doing “significant” business with the listed entities starting February.
By reducing transparency in state companies’ dealings, the new decree will also allow officials to cover up corrupt practices.
“State companies are very reluctant to report their real spending to the Russian public,” Lyubov Sobol, an anti-corruption lawyer for corruption activist and opposition leader Alexei Navalny, told Vedomosti.
State spending, for example on construction work being done in Moscow, is often kept hidden as state secrets to avoid scrutiny, she said.
Last year, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev said government procurement was one of the most corrupt areas in the Russian economy.
Source : The Moscow Times
Source : The Moscow Times