Angus Soft Fruits has hit back at claims its 'pesticide-free' Good Natured soft fruit and salads were grown using the chemicals.

Last week, The Ecologist accused the company of ­allowing its suppliers to use pesticides and permitting pesticides to be used on soil beds before the fruit was grown.

ASF managing director Lochy Porter conceded that fruit root stock was sourced from farms using conventional pesticides. But he denied the company was trying to mislead consumers and said no pesticides had been used on the plants during the fruiting phase.

"As far as we know, everything we're saying is fine and we've looked into that," he said. "It's our responsibility to ensure there is integrity in the brand."

Porter said only the walkways between fruit growing beds were treated with pesticides, under the Good Natured protocol, and only when the crop was not in situ.