A report adopted by the European Parliament's public health committee has proposed new rules for smoke flavourings amid fears they may increase the risk of developing cancer.

Under the proposed rules, food manufacturers will be required to prove the flavourings are not a health threat as well as ensuring the treatment of wood used to provide the flavourings does not produce potentially toxic substances, reported the Times.

UK food manufacturers have said the requirements would be impossible to meet. After being briefed by UK snack maker Walkers, MEP Chris Heaton-Harris said: "What is proposed will cause havoc in Britain's food industry."

The European Commission said the new rules were not designed to ban the use of smoke flavourings, but rather to make sure safety limits are adhered to.

The European Parliament is due to vote on the proposals within the next two weeks.