Heinz, one of two baby food companies in Britain whose products have been deliberately contaminated, said it had received blackmail threats but would not pay any money to extortionists.

Nails, razor blades, small pieces of broken glass, tacks, caustic soda and needles have been found throughout Britain and Ireland in more than 50 items of baby food produced by U.S.-owned H.J. Heinz and the British company Cow and Gate.Heinz officials "have not paid any blackmail money. Nor will they do so," a company statement said Thursday. "Heinz has always insisted that public safety is paramount. The safety of babies is our overriding concern."

But a spokeswoman for Cow and Gate said the company "has not received any threats of blackmail or threats of any other nature."