Food experts are warning that an additive used in some breakfast sausages and burger meat could cause cancer.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says there are potential health concerns over the food colour Red 2G – which is also known as E 128.
The findings emerged after the safety body began a study into the use of food additives in the European Union.
It said that Red 2G was converted in the body into a substance called aniline.
But animal tests had shown that aniline was carcinogenic and EFSA said it was not possible to determine a safe level for human consumption.
It said that Red 2G should be viewed as ‘being of safety concern’ and it has already informed the European Commission of its conclusions.
Red 2G is only permitted for use in breakfast sausages with a minimum cereal content of 6 per cent and in burger meat with a minimum vegetable and/or cereal content of 4 per cent.
The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is meeting with food firms to see whether any products on sale in Britain contain the E number. It will then decide what action to take.