Döner vendors washing tainted meat with bleach - federation head

Unauthorised döner vendors are acquiring bacteria-riddled, expired meat for cheap prices and using bleach to wash it, the head of Turkey’s International Döner Federation (UDOFED) said.

Around 1,000 cheap döner companies have sprawled  across Turkey, offering meat prepared in unhygienic shops which do not even have sinks or running water, Diken news site quoted Mehmet Mercan as saying.

One of Turkey’s favourite foods, döner is made of seasoned meat or chicken cooked on a vertical rotisserie.

Cheap döner kebab vendors have become particularly popular in larger cities, where a higher cost of living pushes customers to more affordable culinary options.

“Döner kebab shops without proper authorisation are selling expired meat for cheaper prices. If the meat has become contaminated with bacteria, they wash it with bleach before making the döner kebab,” Mercan said. 

“Cheap döner shops are making their products using up to 40 percent animal fat that would normally be used in the soaping industry, and in doing so they are ruining the sector with unfair competition,’’ he added.

Calling their practices “food terror,’’ Mercan warned of the health hazards of consuming cheap döner kebab.

“Chicken that is roasting from noon to midnight turns into a ball of bacteria” he said, adding that cheap chicken döner was causing food poisoning due to the meat’s extended exposure to heat.

Turkish officials are working to identify unauthorised shops and enforce a system requiring shop certification, Mercan said.


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