Pesticides being over-used in Britain, found in 60% of loaves of bread

Over 60% of breads sold in the UK contain pesticide residues, tests show

Pesticide residues in bread : Tractor spraying a young wheat crop in autumn
Traces found in two in every three loaves as experts call for more research into impact on health

Damian Carrington, Thursday 17 July 2014 05.00 BST
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A tractor spraying a young wheat crop. Hundreds of loaves of bread tested contained residues of more than one pesticide. Photograph: Nigel Cattlin/Alamy

Two in every three loaves of bread sold in the UK contain pesticide residues, according to a new analysis of government data by environmental campaigners. Tests on hundreds of loaves also showed that 25% contained residues of more than one pesticide.

The official tests are carried out by the government’s expert committee on pesticide residues in food (Prif) and the levels found were below “maximum residue level” (MRL) limits. The Prif experts concluded: “We do not expect these residues to have an effect on health.”

But Nick Mole, at Pesticide Action Network UK (Pan UK) and an author of the new report, said MRLs only indicate whether the pesticides had been applied to crops in the amounts permitted. “They are nothing to do with people’s health whatsoever,” he said. “There is the possibility of harm from the repeated ingestion of low doses of pesticides and no one has done research on the impact of the cocktails of pesticides we are all exposed to. We are all being experimented on without our consent.”

A major study on the differences between organic and conventional foodreported by the Guardian on Friday concluded that pesticides were found four times more often on conventional fruit, vegetables and cereals. “If you want to avoid pesticides, the only sure way to minimise them is eating organic,” said Mole.

Pan UK analysed the pesticides residues reported by Prif in both supermarket own-brand loaves and top brand-name loaves. It found that 63% of the loaves analysed in 2013 contained traces of at least one pesticide and that contamination has run at these levels for at least a decade. The most frequently detected pesticide was glyphosate, a common weedkiller. The next most common were chlormequat, a plant growth regulator, and malathion, an organophosphate insecticide.

The chemicals were found in the bread significantly more frequently than in other foods, where on average 40% of products contain residues.

In March, the UK government produced a national action plan for pesticides, as required by EU law. It stipulates: “Member states should monitor the use of plant protection products containing substances of particular concern and establish timetables and targets for the reduction of their use”. However, the UK plan contains no timetable or targets, despite the area of crops being treated with pesticide being on the rise. David Bench, director of chemicals regulation at the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), which hosts Prif, told MPs in March: “We are not in favour of quantitative pesticide reduction targets as they are generally meaningless.” MPs criticised the HSE for “cherry-picking”.

Mole accused the pesticide companies, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the National Farmers’ Union of having a “cosy” relationship. “The UK’s pesticide action plan was particularly weak,” he said. “Pesticides need to be used last, if at all, at the moment they are the first choice.”

Defra was contacted for comment but did not respond by the time of publication.

The Tap Blog is a collective of like-minded researchers and writers who’ve joined forces to distribute information and voice opinions avoided by the world’s media.

6 Responses to “Pesticides being over-used in Britain, found in 60% of loaves of bread”

  1. Anonymous says:

    This does not surprise me at all.
    I suffer a digestive disorder of which started a few years ago.
    After a series of trials to find which foods were causing it standard Bread turned out to be a main culprit.
    It wasn’t the gluten in it as organic breads I can eat without a reaction. It’s the mainstream bread lines that cause it. Kingsmill, Warburton, Hovis, supermarket own brand etc Anything that is made with non organic flour causes the problem.

    I suspected pesticides and gmo additives in the bread.

    I don’t eat any bread/cake/pastries now except the occasional organic brand and the cravings that occured when I first gave up bread ceased after a couple of weeks.

    I’m also coming across more and more people developing a similar problem.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Is it possible the wheat is GM and heavier pesticide spraying is used?

  3. Anonymous says:

    You Bet! But her’s some interesting information for you.

    A federal hybrid wheat programme was launched in the United States in the 1930s in the wake of research into maize. But the research made no progress to speak of for thirty years.

    The discovery of the sterilising values of CHA (Chemical Hybridisation Agents) triggered both public and private research programmes.

    Some highlights:

    1962 : First cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) system.

    1973 : First Chemical Hybridisation Agent (CHA) developed by Rohm and Haas, an American chemical firm

    1974 : First hybrid wheat variety based on a CMS strategy in the United States.

    1981 : Hybrid wheat marketed in the United States (Cargill) and Australia (Dekalb).

    1982 : Monsanto launches a hybrid wheat programme in the United States and Europe based on the Chemical Hybridisation Agent “GENESIS”. Orsan in France announces that they are commencing research into wheat using distinctive CHAs created in its own laboratories.

    1985 : Creation and listing of several hybrids following cooperation between HybriTech (Monsanto) and Nordsaat, a German seed company.

    First commercial hybrids
    1993 : The chemical hybridisation agents CROISOR® (Hybrinova, company founded in 1992) and GENESIS (Monsanto) receive provisional marketing authorisation in France. Their performance at last promises economically-viable seed production.

    1994 : French listing of first commercially-developed hybrids: HYNO-PRECIA from Hybrinova and DOMINO from HybriTech. Monsanto also creates varieties in the USA.

    1999 : German listing of the first Nordsaat hybrid, HYBNOS 1.

    2003-2004 : Relaunch of sales of hybrid wheats in France, Germany and the United Kingdom and introduction into several European countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, etc.

    2003 : CROISOR® receives a French marketing authorisation.

    2011 : European marketing autorisation of Sintofen, the active ingredient of CROISOR®, ensures the survival of this hybrid wheat seed production solution.

    Hybridisation principle using CHA (Chemical Hybridisation Agent)

    Chemical hybridisation agents (shortened to CHA) are synthetic substances which, applied at a precise development stage of a plant, disturb the forming of grains of pollen and thus render the plant “male-sterile”. The sterilised plant may therefore only be fertilised by the pollen of another plant. The wheat thus obtained will be “hybrid”: the result of a cross between two “parent” wheat lines.

    This is the hybrid wheat that will be marketed and grown by farmers.

    The CHA substances are considered to be crop protection products belonging to the growth regulator category.

    There is currently only one CHA used in the European Union – CROISOR®100 from Saaten-Union. Other CHA are apparently used in China, but there is little precise information about them.

    The single active ingredient in CROISOR®100 is Sintofen (sometimes written Cintofen), which achieved European marketing authorisation in 2011 (listed in Annex 1 of EU Directive 91/414). It is not openly available on the market but supplied directly by Saaten-Union to hybrid wheat seed producers. They then apply it to the seed plants (the “female” or “male-sterile” plants) as stipulated by the seed company

  4. Jennifer says:

    Chemtrails – ‘an exotic weapon, not geoengineering’.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Stop Eating Wheat.

    Many people are discovering that modern wheat is the perfect chronic poison. The consumption of wheat and wheat-containing products has been linked to many devastating and chronic health conditions including gluten intolerance, celiac disease, endocrine system disruption, leaky gut syndrome, chronic fatigue, diabetes, mental illnesses, and more. As a result, many people are trying out gluten and wheat-free diets and quickly discovering that within just a week or two, their health improves, they have more energy, and curious, lingering conditions such as unexplainable skin rashes seem to clear up nearly overnight.

    The over-hybridization of wheat and the corporate seed monopoly’s war on bio-diversity mean that the vast majority of wheat farmers are producing the same kind of wheat, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find high-quality heritage grains for consumption. So for people who’ve discovered first hand how modern wheat is assaulting their health and well-being, it is important to find alternative grains that can be used as freely as common wheat.

    The best three alternatives to modern toxic wheat are all very highly nutritious grains that are increasing in popularity and availability.

    1. Einkorn – For people who are looking for wheat that doesn’t come with toxicity and chronic poisoning of Triticum aestivum, today’s most common ‘bread wheat,’ einkorn wheat is the perfect alternative. Known as Triticum monococcum, einkorn is a heritage grain that has been harvested for over 10,000 years, is highly nutritious and doesn’t contain the gluten peptide that is in modern wheat.

    The Nutritional Value of Wheat is Practically Non-Existent In Its Current Form

    So-called health experts in nutrition who continue to promote the health benefits of wheat are extremely uninformed about the nature of modern wheat and its evolution from growth to consumption.


  6. Anonymous says:

    Gordon thank you – that makes perfect sense and answers all my questions regarding why wheat suddenly became a problem for me.
    Now I know why.

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