The European Union is to ban the use of Red 2G food colouring in breakfast sausages and hamburgers due to concerns that it could cause cancer, the EU's executive body announced Friday.
The European Food Safety Authority has found that there is "a strong possibility that Red 2G could provoke cancer, as it tends to break down into a carcinogenic substance called aniline," the European Commission said.
The Commission said in a statement that the ban would be imposed in a few days once a new regulation is published in the EU's Official Journal.
It said that shops which had products on their shelves containing Red 2G would be allowed to sell them up until their expiry date.
The colouring had been permitted in the past in concentrations not exceeding 20 milligrammes per kilogramme of product.
The meat in question was mainly sold in Britain and Ireland, a Commission spokesman on EU health issues said.