Risks to adult and infant consumers from a cancer-causing chemical found in food and drink sold in glass jars were said to be “very small”.

The European Food Safety Authority said semicarbazide was produced during the heat treatment used to make the sealing gaskets for the lids of jars and bottles.

EFSA experts found that fruit juices, jams, honey, baby food, mayonnaise, sauces and ketchup were among the foods found to contain semicarbazides.

Chairman of the Food Standards Agency, Sir John Krebs said it was not “advising against eating food in jars”.

He added: “However, these jars are commonly used for baby food and so parents may understandably be concerned by the continuing uncertainty, which may lead some parents to choose alternative food for their babies.”

Deputy director general of the Food and Drink Federation, Martin Paterson, said a priority was to “reduce the presence of SEM in baby foods as swiftly as technological progress allows”.