Japan recalls sausages in cyanide scare

A major Japanese meat processor has recalled more than million sausages and pizza products, over fears they could contain traces of cyanide.

The poisonous chemical was found in water at Itoham Foods Inc's plant in Kashiwa, east of Tokyo. The company has said that tests of the water revealed cyanide levels up to three times the government limit.

It is possible that a total of 2.67 million packs were tainted with cyanogen compounds, leading to a massive recall.

Itoham has not yet received any reports of health problems, but managing director Shinichi Yamada has apologised for the contamination and admitted that the company's crisis management was "insufficient", due to the time it took to announce the contamination.

Asia has been the centre of several food scares over the past few months. In China, over 50,000 infants fell ill and four have died after the industrial chemical melamine was discovered in powdered baby milk.

More recently, Hong Kong authorities have started testing meat and vegetables coming from mainland China, after eggs delivered to the island were found to have twice the legal limit of melamine - a chemical found in plastics, which triggers the formation of kidney stones when consumed.