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Food Colour in Sausages, Burgers Could Trigger Cancer

Food specialists have warned that a dye, used sometimes to colour meat for sausages and burgers, could trigger cancer .

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recently announced that it could no longer guarantee a safe daily limit for consumers to eat meat with the colourant, Red 2G, which is also known as E128.

EFSA released a statement describing Red 2G, as a "safety concern". A meeting has been called by the Food Standards Agency on July 10, to establish the extent of the use of the dye in Britain.

Many large brands have recently been trying to do away with additives and artificial colourings from their meat products. However, E128 is still frequently used, particularly in economy sausages and burgers.

Under current EU food laws, limited amounts of Red 2G are permitted for use only in certain types of breakfast sausages and burger meat.

The EFSA experts said Red 2G was converted in the body into a substance called aniline. Following tests on rats and mice, the researchers concluded that aniline should be considered as a carcinogen or cancer-causing.

"Based on similar metabolism of aniline in animals and humans, a carcinogenic risk for man cannot therefore be excluded," the Telegraph quoted a spokesman for the EFSA, as saying.

"Given new scientific evidence it cannot be excluded that aniline's carcinogenic potential is due to damage to the genetic material of the cells. It is therefore not possible to determine a level of intake for aniline which may be regarded as safe for humans," he added.

A spokesman for the FSA said that once the meeting is concluded, the agency will decide what action to take.

The EFSA is re-assessing the scientific evidence on all food colourings as part of a wider review of a range of food additives presently authorised for use in the EU.

A spokesman for the Food and Drink Federation, which represe nts UK manufacturers, said the use of E128 here was "likely to be minimal".


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