Spain's food safety agency warned Friday against consuming sunflower oil after a batch from the Ukraine was found to be contaminated with hydrocarbons although it said there was no health risk.
The head of the health ministry's food safety and nutrition agency, Jose Ignacio Arranz, said the amount of toxins detected was very low and would only be harmful if consumed daily over a long period.
The warning would remain in place until it could determine which brands are affected, he told radio Cadena Ser.
"This is a precautionary measure. We know that the majority of sunflower oil is most likely not contaminated but faced with a doubt we have an obligation to protect health," Arranz said.
Spain was informed of the contaminated sunflower oil from Ukraine by French authorities who are also thinking of issuing a warning, he added.
"We are talking about a problem that affects many countries in Europe," he said.
Several supermarket chains were taking all brands of sunflower seed oil which used oil from the Ukraine off their shelves, Spanish media reported.
Rapeseed oil adulterated with aniline, a coal tar extract, that was sold in Spain in 1981 was blamed for the deaths of hundreds of people. It was sold as olive oil in working-class neighbourhoods of Madrid and several other cities.
Sunflower oil is the most popular cooking oil in Spain after olive oil.