Soil Association puts pressure on bread companies over pre-harvest spraying

With the wheat harvest about to start in the next few weeks the Soil Association has written to all major UK bread companies and supermarkets asking them to put a stop to glyphosate use as a pre-harvest desiccant in their supply chains.

Pre-harvest crop desiccation is where a herbicide is sprayed on a crop shortly before harvest to control weeds and to enhance ripening.

The EU has just advised glyphosate use as a pre-harvest spray on food crops should be restricted, naming specific conditions on its use – although it has left it to individual member states to decide if they want to implement this or not.

In the letter to bread companies the Soil Association’s policy director Peter Melchett says: “In light of mounting evidence that has found glyphosate is not the benign chemical that you were led to believe, the Soil Association believes all these conditions must be implemented as soon as possible. For users of UK flour, the key step must be to ban the use of glyphosate as a pre-harvest desiccant on crops due to enter the human food chain, to prevent the powerful weed-killer being sprayed on food crops just before they are harvested.

In view of the controversy surrounding the safety of glyphosate, the Soil Association is calling again for bread manufacturers and flour millers to insist on a glyphosate-free supply of UK cereals destined for human consumption, as there is still time to achieve this before this year’s harvest begins.