Nearly two-thirds of the bread you eat contains pesticides residues (Pesticide Action Network)

17th July 2014

A report released today by PAN UK in conjunction with the Organic. Naturally Different campaign, reveals that nearly two-thirds (61.5%) of bread products tested by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) between 2000 and 2013, were contaminated with pesticides residues.

The report investigates the Government’s own figures revealing the presence of pesticide residues in the everyday staple, bread, and in particular the potentially dangerous effect that ingesting multiple chemicals and pesticide residues can have on consumers. The report aims to enable consumers to make an informed decision about the food they buy.

The Pesticides in Your Daily Bread report has analysed the data on pesticides residues published by the Defra Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRIF) and looks at residues of single and multiple pesticides found in bread. The report examines the most frequently found pesticide residues which are glyphosate and chlormequat, and some of the possible harmful effects they have on consumers’ health and the environment. Finally the report details what consumers can do to make informed choices when doing their weekly shopping and what governments and retailers should do to address this issue.

Key PAN UK findings:

  • Pesticide residues in bread have more than doubled from 28% in 2001 to 63% in 2013
  • The number of samples testing positive for multiple residues more than doubled in the last seven years
  • Glyphosate is the residue most often found in bread, a herbicide that is increasingly linked to a variety of health issues
  • Eating organic bread significantly reduces consumers exposure to pesticide residues
  • The Government and industry must take urgent action to reduce pesticide residues in bread

Nick Mole, from PAN UK comments; “The presence of pesticide residues in our food and our subsequent ingestion of them is not something that anybody should welcome. We are in effect being poisoned against our will with the full knowledge of the growers, retailers and regulatory bodies that provide our food or are tasked with making sure it is safe.”

Catherine Fookes, campaign manager for the ‘Organic. Naturally Different’ campaign comments; “The PAN UK report shows that pesticides residues in non-organic bread have doubled from 2001-2013 and this along with recent reports linking pesticides with damage to wildlife including bees, is extremely worrying and needs to be addressed. Consumers can avoid pesticide residues by choosing organic food. Our Organic. Naturally Different Campaign aims to inform consumers about the food they eat so they can make informed choices.”

The report also shows that health effects aren’t the only reason to choose organic – a recent review of 800 scientific papers looking at the impact of neonicotinoids, the most widely used class of pesticide in the world, shows they are damaging a wide range of invertebrates, such as earthworms, bees and butterflies; the effects of which could spread up the food chain to birds and reptiles which is another reason consumer should choose organic.

Source: Pesticide Action Network UK 17th July 2014