FSA News Item, 9 August 2007
Following a European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) evaluation of the food colouring Red 2G, legislation is now in force which bans its use in food in the EU.
EFSA is currently re-evaluating the safety of all food colourings. EFSA's evaluation showed that in laboratory tests one food colouring, Red 2G (E128) may have the potential to damage the genetic material in cells and cause cancer in animals.
Usage of additives in the UK is governed by European legislation, and a meeting of the EC's Standing Committee took place on 20 July to discuss what action should be taken at European level regarding Red 2G. At the meeting, it was unanimously agreed that Red 2G should no longer be used as a food colouring in Europe . The regulation that suspends the use of Red 2G, was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 27 July 2007 and so came into force on 28 July 2007.
Under EU legislation, Red 2G was only permitted to be used in specific meat products, namely breakfast sausages with a minimum cereal content of 6% and burger meat with a minimum vegetable and/or cereal content of 4%. The new regulation permits breakfast sausages and burger meat containing Red 2G placed on the market before 28 July 2007, which comply with previous EU legislation, to be marketed until their ‘use by' date or date of minimum durability. This also applies to consignments of breakfast sausages and burger meat dispatched from third countries that were on their way to the EU before the regulation came into force.
The Food (Suspension of the Use of E128 Red 2G as Food Colour) ( England ) Regulations 2007 enforce the EC regulation in England and came into force on Thursday 2 August. Parallel legislation has been put in place in Scotland , Wales and Northern Ireland .