The Food Standards Agency is confident that last week's recall of four soft drink products found to contain the cancer-causing chemical benzene will not escalate into a scare on the scale of last year's Sudan 1 recall.

Last week, as a result of an investigation of levels of benzene in squashes, carbonates and still drinks, the agency recalled four products found to contain levels above WHO guidelines of ten parts per billion for drinking water.

Products recalled included Co-op branded low-calorie bitter lemon, Popstar lemon and lime, a Morrisons fruit crush and a Hyberry blackcurrant squash.

An FSA spokesman said that the agency's survey of 150 products found that levels of benzene, which is a by-product of chemicals used to extend drinks' shelf life, were undetectable in 107 products and only 38 products had levels of benzene between one and ten parts per billion.

"Our survey, and the views of manufacturers, shows that this problem is not particularly widespread at all," he said.