A dye that is used sometimes to color meat for burgers and sausages is at the center of a cancer alert.

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

A meeting has been called today by the Food Standards Agency to establish the extent of the use of the dye in Britain. It may also be found in cheap varieties of jam, food industry sources said.

Scientific experts at the European Commission were expected to suspend the use of the dye while they reviewed the opinion provided by the EFSA. A meeting of the EU Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health was scheduled to be held on Friday next week.

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Meat industry experts suggested that the dye was used only by individual butchers and small meat firms, and that these traders may not even be aware that they were doing so. It was likely to be used as part of a mix of spice ingredients for the manufacture of sausages or burgers, rather than bought separately. It was mainly used for meat products sold at the cheaper end of the market and especially where there was less than 100 percent meat content.