The European Parliament may veto the EC’s legislative proposal to allow phosphate additives in frozen meat because of health concerns. Serious concerns about the health effects of phosphate supplements have been expressed by the European Parliament’s Committee on Public Health and Food Safety.
The MEPs opposed the European Commission’s proposal to allow the use of phosphoric acid, diphosphates, triphosphates and polyphosphates (E 338-452) in frozen meat, whether it be mutton, lamb, veal, beef or poultry.
“The European Parliament does not forbid the duners”, said the European deputy spokerperson, Marjorie van den Broeke. “Some research has shown that these supplements can cause cardiovascular disease, and it is currently forbidden to add them to frozen meat for duners. Before giving a green light to the solution of phosphate additive in the duner, as proposed by the EC, the members of the EP’s Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety decided to await the results of the current EFSA study of possible negative effects of these additives”, adds the spokerperson.
The EP committee decision will have to be voted in plenary and, if approved, the current situation will remain unchanged and the phosphate additives will not be used in frozen meat. If the EP supports the Commission’s objection by an absolute majority (376 votes) in the plenary, the proposal will be blocked and the European Commission will have to revise the legislative proposal.
The EU rules do not generally allow the use of phosphate additives in meat preparations. However, due to the large number of exceptions to these rules, the phosphate additives are increasingly used in frozen meat to preserve taste and retain water.
The MEPs recall that a 2012 research has identified a potential link between phosphate food supplements and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) then assessed that this risk could not be related to the intake of phosphorus as a whole or of phosphate supplements. In 2013, another research has also established a link between high-phosphorus diets and increased mortality in the US population.
The resolution will be voted by Parliament during the plenary session of December 11-14. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has announced that it will review the safety of phosphate supplements until December 31, 2018.