US regulators have cleared parts of Florida from being linked to the salmonella outbreak sweeping through the tomato sector.

Growers in the state have faced problems selling their tomato crop after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned consumers over the weekend to avoid three types of tomato – Roma, red plum and red round tomatoes.

The Florida Tomato Growers Exchange said the outbreak was having a “negative impact” on its businesses and flagged the safety of its crop.

“The Florida tomato industry is committed to the production of a safe product,” the exchange said. “In fact, Florida is the first state in the country to adopt a comprehensive food safety program with mandatory government inspection and audit of its tomatoes.”

Up to yesterday (10 June), there have been 167 reported cases, including at least 23 hospitalisations, related to the outbreak since mid-April, according to the FDA.

The agency said infections had been caused by salmonella saintpaul, an uncommon type of the bacteria.