They are a much loved late-night snack for revellers as they flock home at the end of a night.

But the future of the kebab is now hanging in the balance after it emerged that the high street delicacy may be banned from Britain under the European Union plans to combat heart disease , reported The Telegraph.

A move by the European Parliament to ban the phosphates necessary to keep seasoned kebab meat moist and flavoursome is said to pose a risk to kebabs .

An estimated 1.3m doner kebabs are sold every day in the UK from more than 20,000 outlets, and some 200,000 people work in the industry across Europe.

 Ibrahim Dogus, chair of the British Takeaway Campaign, an umbrella organisation that represents fast food groups including the Kebab Association, said: “An EU ban on the doner would damage the takeaway industry - a sector which generates £4.5bn in economic growth to the UK and supports 231,000 jobs.

“Doner kebabs are a much loved staple in takeaways up and down the country and have been enjoyed since the 8th century BC.”

He told The Daily Telegraph: “In many cases, such as in my own restaurants, kebabs are homemade and when served with a fresh salad and pitta bread offer consumers a healthy choice.
 
“Restaurants are already responding to consumer demand by providing healthier options and adapting menus – from choosing lower fat oils to sourcing local produce..”

A scientific review in 2012 suggested a possible link between phosphates, when used as food additives, and heart disease , although the evidence remains inconclusive.  

The use of phosphate additives in meat preparation, where they are used to protect flavour and retain water, is normally banned under EU laws. However, there are exceptions and there are no current provisions about using phosphate in frozen kebab meat.  

The European parliament’s health committee this week voted down a proposal from the European commission that would have allowed the use of phosphoric acid, phosphates and polyphosphates in kebab meat made of mutton, lamb, veal, beef or poultry.  The full European Parliament is due to vote on the issue when it sits in Strasbourg in two weeks time.