Bakers have criticised a new report into the level of pesticide residues found in bread.

The Federation of Bakers has accused the Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN) of “scaremongering” consumers into thinking bread was not a healthy food choice with a “misleading interpretation” of official Defra data.

The PAN’s Pesticides in Your Daily bread report, published today (17 July), claimed pesticide residues in bread had risen from 28% to 63% since 2001, and the number of samples testing positive for multiple residues had more than doubled in the past seven years. It based its report on data published by the Defra Expert Committee on Pesticide Residues in Food.

Defra today told The Grocer that the reported rise in findings was due to its ability to test at lower levels. “Levels of pesticide residue in food are minimal and we have strict testing methods in place to check this,” said a spokeswoman. ”There is no human health risk from pesticide residues in bread.”

The Federation of Bakers said it was also “crucial” to acknowledge the conclusion of the original Defra report, which stated the residues detected on bread were considerably lower than the internationally agreed maximum residue limit. “We’re talking about absolutely tiny amounts,” the federation’s director Gordon Polson said. “There is no justification for the suggestion people shouldn’t be eating bread.”