Sales of sterilising tablets and fruit and vegetable washes have rocketed since Germany's E.coli outbreak.

Sterilising brand Milton said sales of its sterilising fluid and tablets, commonly used to clean baby feeding products, had soared 50% since the outbreak.

"We have also noticed an increase in the number of calls to our customer services department," a spokeswoman said. "Consumers want to confirm that Milton is safe to wash their fruit and vegetables in."

Demand is also high for fruit and vegetable wash Fit, which is made from a patented blend of food ingredients, including citric acid and distilled grapefruit juice, and is claimed to remove 98% more contaminants than water alone.

Its European importer Addmaster said it had taken three months worth of orders in the past two weeks and air-freighted in more supplies from the US.

Although its customers are predominantly from the foodservice and catering sector, direct orders from consumers willing to pay an additional £5.70 shipping on a £4.49 bottle of spray had also grown.

Until now, such products have struggled to gain a foothold in the UK. "No UK supermarket has stocked Fit as they are afraid the public will see this type of product only in their stores and think it's only their produce that needs washing," said Addmaster MD Paul Morris.

The situation couldn't be more different in America, he added. "In the US, to not have a product like Fit in your home would be as strange as having no soap next to your sink."

Read more
45% of Brits alter fruit & veg prep over E.coli fears (11 June 2011)
E.coli: how can we be sure our fruit and veg is safe? (analysis; 11 June 2011)