FEARS that Worcester firm Lea & Perrins could be hit by a national food scare have prompted MP Michael Foster to defend the brand in Parliament.

The Worcester MP has backed the company's assurances that their Worcestershire sauce is safe amid concerns that shoppers could boycott the product out of ignorance.

Mr Foster has tabled an Early Day Motion in the Commons stressing that Lea & Perrins sauce was not responsible for the withdrawal of more than 400 processed foods from supermarket shelves.

The Food Standards Agency has drawn up a list of 418 products that have been contaminated with an illegal red dye, Sudan 1, which was found in Crosse & Blackwell Worcester sauce.

Mr Foster has drawn up the motion to ensure that Westminster is not under any illusion about the source of the scare.

He said: "It is important for consumers to know the difference between our local sauce and that of the rival brand which is subject to the food scare.

"While we know the difference, my fear is that the vast majority of the country may be unsure - that is why I have tabled this motion."

Mr Foster has also urged the Food Standards Agency to make clear in their advice that Lea & Perrins sauce is safe.

"Lea & Perrins use the highest quality ingredients, and buy from suppliers that certify the safety of their products," he added.

Mr Foster rarely tables Early Day Motions because of the sensitivity of his position as a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department for Education and Skills.

The last one he tabled congratulated Worcester RUFC on their promotion to the Zurich Premiership last year.

Hundreds of worried customers have contacted Lea & Perrins since the existence of potentially cancer-causing dye in Crosse & Blackwell Worcestershire sauce was announced last Friday.

A full list of the products which have been withdrawn in the wake of the scare can be found at the Food Standards Agency website at www.food.gov.uk/sudanlist