The German E. coli outbreak that killed dozens and sickened thousands and hit the produce sector across Europe has come to an end, health officials have said.

The outbreak of the EHEC O104:H4 E. coli strain, which was linked to fenugreek seeds imported from Egypt into Germany, made over 4,300 people ill and left 50 dead. The last case of illness linked to the outbreak was seen on 4 July.

"The largest EHEC outbreak in Germany is over," said Reinhard Burger, president of The Robert Koch Institute, the German federal body for disease control and prevention.

News of the outbreak first emerged in May, although the source of the contamination was unclear for weeks, with cucumbers imported from Spain mistakenly blamed.

Sales of fresh produce in a number of European markets were affected, with the continent's farmers federation Copa-Cogeca estimating that growers were losing EUR400m a week.

The EU made EUR210m (US$304.2m) available in emergency aid for the affected farmers and has embarked on a promotional campaign to restore consumer confidence in the produce sector.