US food giant Heinz has issued a recall of chilli sauces, chilli oils and other products in China suspected of containing a cancer-causing agent, China state press says.
The recall comes after the red dye, Sudan-I, was found last week in a pepper sauce made by a Heinz subsidiary, the Heinz Meiweiyuan Food Co based in Guangzhou, capital of southern China's Guangdong province.
The dye is also at the centre of a European health scare.
Following the discovery, the State Administration for Quality Supervision and Inspection and Quarantine ordered the company to immediately recall all suspected products and banned their sale.
"Heinz has told its distributors and sales agencies across the country to recall the suspected products," Charles Chyi, regional president of Heinz (China) Investment Co Ltd, said on Sunday, the China Daily reported.
Company officials were not immediately available to comment on the report.
According to a local quality supervision department, six products produced by Heinz companies were suspected of containing Sudan-I.
Supermarkets in Guangdong's capital have been ordered to stop selling pepper-related products manufactured by Heinz, the China Daily quoted an official with the Guangdong quality supervision administration as saying.
The authorities there on Sunday launched a province-wide inspection of pepper and sauce-related products and would also inspect Heinz's food suppliers and related companies this week to find the sources of Sudan I.
The cancer-causing dye was found by the Food Standards Agency of Britain on 18 February in a batch of chilli powder made by Premier Foods, one of the country's largest food and beverage companies.
"Heinz has told its distributors and sales agencies across the country to recall the suspected products"
Charles Chyi, regional president of Heinz (China) Investment Co
The agency also found the dye in products of companies such as Schweppes, Coca Cola and Unilever.
Sudan-I is traditionally used for colouring solvents, oils, waxes, petrol and shoe and floor polishes.