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For the record

Are there dangerous pesticides in our bread?  Image

Are there dangerous pesticides in our bread?

Articles in the Daily Express, the Daily Telegraph, the Independent and the Guardian online on 17th July 2014 reported that pesticides, including glyphosphate, have been found in two-thirds of bread products, and claimed: “Glyphosate has been linked to cancer, birth defects and neurological disease such as Parkinson’s disease.” 

We asked toxicologist, John Hoskins to respond:

“In reality, rats, dogs and mice fed glyphosate over a wide range of doses showed no cancer related effects directly due to the compound. The environmental protection agency (EPA) has stated that there is sufficient evidence to conclude that glyphosate is not carcinogenic in humans.

In rabbit studies, no developmental toxicity was observed in fetuses at the highest dose tested. It is unlikely that glyphosate would produce any reproductive effects in humans.

In the largest epidemiology study to date, which surveyed US farmers (Agricultural Health Study), no increased risk of Parkinson’s disease was found in association with reported glyphosate use.

Glyphosate is poorly absorbed from the digestive tract so most of the traces eaten will pass straight through us.”


The author of the study, Nick Mole, also stated that whilst the levels of pesticide levels in bread were below the maximum residue limits, these limits "are nothing to do with people’s health whatsoever.”

Toxicologist Paul Illing responded: 

 "The whole point of maximum residue levels in a foodstuff is to protect human health. Large safety factors are included when determining the maximum residue level."

Document type: For The Record

Published: 17 July 2014

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