Burgers can be more dangerous than rising your cholesterol and loading you with fat. They can cause cancer. This is the effect of a food additive and flavorings found in some sausages and burgers, the coloring E128 (Red 2G).
The European Food Safety Authority's panel of experts on food additives has recommended that the colorant should no longer be considered safe for human alimentation.
British Food Standards Agency is currently investigating if E128 is found in products on sale in the UK, and a spokeswoman for the Food and Drink Federation, representing British manufacturers, said that Red 2G use was "likely to be minimal" in UK. Many large brands have recently been attempting to remove additives and artificial colorants from their meat products.
Current EU food laws state that small amounts of Red 2G are allowed for use in breakfast sausages with at least 6% cereal content and in burger meat with at least 4 % vegetable and/or cereal content. E128 is still commonly employed, especially in economy sausages and burgers. But recent tests made on rats and mice showed that Red 2G is transformed in the body into an oily, colorless chemical named aniline, a powerful carcinogenic (cancer causing chemical), that triggered cancerous tumors in the lab animals.
"Based on similar metabolism of aniline in animals and humans, a carcinogenic risk for man cannot therefore be excluded. Given new scientific evidence, it cannot be excluded that aniline's carcinogenic potential is due to damage to the genetic material of the cells. 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." stated the EFSA panel.
The EFSA is re-examining all food colorants and has passed its results to the European Commission. Red 2G is already banned in several countries, including Japan.