The Sudan 1 food dye scare has spread from the supermarket to the restaurant and catering sector.
The cancer-causing colorant, which got into Premier Foods-manufactured Worcester sauce, has been traced to a salad dressing sold by fast-food chain McDonald's and ingredients supplied to restaurant operator Whitbread. Both companies have since withdrawn all affected products.
A Whitbread spokeswoman said: "We became aware that some of the dye was in the supply chain for Pizza Hut and other brands. We took it out and made other arrangements. None of it has reached the table since then."
McDonald's took similarly swift action. A spokeswoman said: "We found out from our supplier late on 15 February that our Caesar dressing and Western barbecue sauce were involved and we withdrew both immediately."
All affected products now appear on the Food Standards Agency (FSA) list of contaminated food.
School and hospital caterers have also been hit. Brakes, one of the UK's largest food suppliers, has taken five branded and three own-brand products out of circulation. A spokesman said: "We've gone right back to November 2003 to see who may have bought an affected batch and we'll give a full refund. The advantage we have over retailers is that we have a database of customers that details their buying history."
And a report in today's Times warned that hospitals had also become involved. According to the story, a number of healthcare trusts in Wales had been supplied with the contaminated Crosse & Blackwell Worcester sauce.
by Tom Bill
Buy this week's Caterer magazine for more industry news and analysis