A shell-shocked Asda was apologising last week after dropping a PR A-bomb on its doubtless very large contingent of elderly Japanese shoppers.

It was hauled over the coals by one ever-vigilant tabloid for selling a firework dubbed the Atomic Blitz. Apparently the packaging featured a mushroom cloud, prompting ­accusations that the supermarket had appalled countless consumers with the "sick" product.

Asda had a slightly different take on it, however. "Thanks to The Sun for flagging this up," an Asda spokesman said, rather suavely implying the retailer had not exactly been inundated with complaints from Japanese day-trippers just passing by for some Chosen By You sushi on their way home to the post-atomic wastelands of Old Hiroshima.

"We will be changing the name and the packaging next year," Asda vowed.

Mind you, the only thing deadlier than an atomic bomb remains widely on sale in Asda and its rivals. Research this week said alcohol is more dangerous to society than controversial 'mood enhancers' such as heroin and crack.

Presumably 'sick' ­products like WKD and Lambrini will also get face-saving overhauls soon.