The UK fresh produce industry has lost more than £50m since the E.coli outbreak in Germany, according to FPC estimates.

The association said lost sales revenue for cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuces alone was about £54m.

FPC CEO Nigel Jenney said the industry was taking a financial hit because of speculation over the source of the outbreak and criticised UK authorities for providing unhelpful advice on sprouted seeds. He called on the FSA to clarify its guidance to consumers.

"UK authorities are hiding behind an over-application of the precautionary approach due to their lack of knowledge of the industry," he said. "As a result, UK consumers have received confusing advice."

The FPC has also contacted business secretary Vince Cable to urge the government to support the industry and restore confidence in fresh produce with "an immediate bespoke promotional campaign".