California tomatoto truck chaos / Credit: BBC

A truck has spilled more than 150,000 tomatoes across a busy motorway in the US state of California, bringing traffic to a standstill.

The splattered tomatoes caused seven cars to crash and closed much of the Interstate 80 highway on Monday.

Three people had minor injuries and a fourth is in hospital with a broken leg, California Highway Patrol said.

During tomato season, lorry drivers use the major motorway to transport the fruit across the state.

An initial collision caused the tomato truck to swerve into the central divide of the motorway, spilling fist-sized tomatoes across a 200ft section of the motorway, according to reports.

This left a sea of red sauce about “two feet deep”, said Highway Patrol Officer Jason Tyhurst.

Cars drove over the squelching tomatoes, creating a dangerous slurry of tomato juice, oil and dirt.

“These tomato skins, man, once they hit the asphalt it’s like walking on ice,” said Mr Tyhurst, speaking to the New York Times.

Clean-up crews allowed the road to reopen several hours later.

The Golden State produces more than 90% of the country’s processed tomatoes and almost half of global processed tomatoes, according to the California Tomato Growers Association.