Consumers have been warned not to eat Loyd Grossman Korma sauce, as it has been linked to cases of botulism.

The Health Protection Agency has carried out a preliminary test from a used jar of Loyd Grossman Korma sauce and identified the toxin that causes botulism.

The Food Standards Agency said two people had been hospitalized in Scotland after eating from the jar of the sauce.

Loyd Grossman Korma sauce in jars of 350 g, with an expiry date of February 2013, have been found to be contaminated. The sauce has a batch code of 1218R 07:21.

Botulism is caused by a toxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum which attacks the nervous system. There is a botulinum antitoxin available which is very effective in treating botulism when it is used in the early stages of the infection.

The infection is not passed from person to person and symptoms usually occur between 12 and 36 hours after eating contaminated food, although symptoms can also appear in as little as six hours or take longer.

"Cases of botulism are thankfully very rare in the UK although it can be a very serious infection in those that are affected," botulinum toxin expert at the HPA, Kathie Grant, said.

The HPA is working with the Scottish authorities and the Food Standards Agency on the investigation. Botulism is rare in the UK - there have only been 33 recorded cases of food-borne botulism in England and Wales since 1989, with 27 of these linked to a single outbreak.

"We urge the public to take heed of this message and ensure that they immediately dispose of this product and to be aware of the signs and symptoms of botulism, which include blurred vision, difficulty swallowing, headaches and muscle weakness," Grant added.