What's in your hand? If it's a doner kebab, it could be anything
Doner kebab: Food of the night, satisifier of the lad, the drunk, the thug and the slut. And delightful with a little chilli sauce and a good scoop of the garlic variety. But recent investigations by local councils have put folk off their weekend ritual, because they discovered doner kebabs contain more than Larry the Lamb.
There were stories in the press concerning a new report into the contents of doner meat, but it's a question that has rarely been answered, largely because of the rules of the regulatory body. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) says that unless labeled otherwise the meat in a doner kebab must be lamb, but because takeaways are designated as restaurants, they're not obliged to present a definitive list of ingredients to customers. Ramsey doesn't have to tell you what you paid for, and neither does Kebab World II.
An blog article by Tim Bennett in 2006 attempted to uncovers the specifics of what exactly goes into that roasted column of ooze and loveliness:
Several manufacturers of doner meat were contacted - only one responded. They said that doner meat is made from lamb belly (that fattest part) and the fundamental ingredients are rusk, salt, onion powder, chopping phosphate and ground pepper. They did however say the remaining ingredients were down to the preference of the manufacturer.
The Guardian also delved into the anatomy of the doner in the same year, discovering that many kebabs are cut with something called "bobby veal" - the unwanted male calves of dairy cows. It also reported the story of a German supplier who took his own life after officials found meat up to four years old on his premises; "best-before dates had been altered, meat was frozen, defrosted, turned into doner kebabs, and then refrozen".
That wasn't an isolated instance; just a year later, a Bavarian wholesale meat producer confessed to selling nearly 200 tonnes of meat unfit for human consumption to takeaways in Germany. Yes, the Germans again; kebab is as popular there as it is in the UK.
More definitive proof was provided earlier this year, when councils around the country collected nearly 500 samples of kebab. Their report found the average doner kebab contains over 1000 calories - nearly half the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA) for men - and that's before you make with the sauces. Mmm. Garlic.
The worst examples contain 80 per cent of the calorie GDA for a man, 136 per cent of their GDA for fat and 235 per cent of their GDA for saturated fats. The worst offender contained 277 per cent of the recommended daily salt intake for adults. Spectacular.
But it gets better; barely a third of the kebabs tested contained only "sheepmeat" - a worrying term in itself. Some didn't even have sheep in them:
So to sum up, then; if you want to know what's in a doner kebab, pick any two animals at random. And if you're in Germany, assume it was fit to eat sometime before the last war.