The FSA has been criticised by fruit producers for its 'disproportionate' ­response to finding an unauthorised glaze on imported apples.

The Fresh Produce Consortium (FPC), which represents the interests of fruit and vegetable producers, said the agency had failed to engage sensibly with the industry on the ­issue and blown it out of ­proportion, potentially confusing consumers.

Earlier this month, an FSA sampling programme had found that some apples imported from Chile on sale in the UK had been treated with a wax containing morpholine. The use of morpholine is permitted in Chile, but it has not been authorised in the EU and should not be present on fruit sold in member states, the FSA said.

FPC chief executive Nigel Jenney said he was disappointed the FSA had chosen to make a public statement about morpholine before discussing the issue with the industry.