An e-mail which warns people against consuming tomato sauce that has been infected with HIV positive blood is a hoax, police said on Friday.

“The widely circulated e-mail claimed that a well-known food chain sent letters out to schools, about tomato sauce which was deliberately contaminated with the blood of an HIV positive person,” said Director Sally de Beer.

She said that police then conducted a thorough inquiry which revealed it to be a hoax.

The e-mail in question urges people not to use tomato sauce – or any other sauce – which is not sealed in a sachet because a man was caught putting blood into the tomato sauce at a restaurant.

“No such incident is known to the police,” said De Beer.

“We urge people to ignore this and similar e-mails or SMSs which are probably created by a person or persons intent on causing alarm or panic.”