Europe's food safety watchdog has ruled that the food colouring red 2G is a "safety concern".

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) said today (9 July) that the food additive should be considered to have carcinogenic properties.

The ruling comes as part of the EFSA's re-evaluation of food additives, including colours, authorised in the EU.

The EFSA said the use of red 2G is only allowed in some breakfast sausages and burger meat. It concluded, however, that red 2G largely converts into a substance called aniline in the body, a substance that, according to animal studies, should be considered as a carcinogen.

"Given new scientific evidence, it cannot be excluded that aniline's carcinogenic potential is due to damage to the genetic material of the cells," the EFSA said

"It is therefore not possible to determine a level of intake for aniline which may be regarded as safe for humans. The panel therefore concluded that red 2G should be regarded as being of safety concern."