The European Food Safety Authority has expressed concern about the use of the colouring E128, also known as Red 2G, which is said is used in some sausage and burger production. EFSA's panel on food additives said the dye should no longer be considered safe for human consumption.
The Food Standards Agency is now reported to be investigating whether products containing the dye are on sale in the UK.
However, the Food and Drink Federation, said its use in the UK was likely to be minimal.
Under current EU food laws, limited amounts of Red 2G are permitted for use in sausages with a minimum cereal content of 6% and in burger meat with a minimum vegetable and/or cereal content of 4%.
However, Red 2G is converted in the body into an oily substance called aniline, which has now been shown in tests on rats and mice to have the potential to trigger cancer.
EFSA, which is re-examining the scientific evidence on all food colourings, has passed its findings to the European Commission.
Red 2G is already banned in a number of countries, including Japan.