Consumers in France are being warned not to eat jars of food from the firm La Ruche in the Vaucluse, after eight people were hospitalised with the dangerous illness botulism.

It is thought jars used for tapenade (black olive paste) had not been properly sterilised and further tests have found contamination in other products including dried tomatoes, sandwich spread, pesto and pastes made from anchovies, aubergines, peppers, chickpeas and artichokes.

Public health authorities are asking people not to eat jars of pastes made by the firm La Ruche, from Cavaillon, sold under the brands Les Délices de Marie Claire, Terre de Mistral and Les Secrets d’Anaïs.

It has also asked la Ruche to start withdrawing its products.

An official public health statement said: “Many jars are still in circulation, putting people who might eat them at a severe risk”, adding that as they are sold in popular tourist spots there is a risk that people from all over France and from abroad will have bought them.