UK farmer and retailer The Co-operative Group is set to ban more than 20 new pesticides used throughout the world because of fears about their impact on consumers' health and the environment.

The Green and Pleasant Land report published by the group, which was founded in the 19th century, claims that not enough is known about the chemicals to allow their use, and that consumers have already expressed their disapproval of pesticide use by choosing more organic products from the supermarket shelves. Furthermore, regulations governing pesticide use are inadequate, said the report.

Wendy Wrigley, general manager of retail brands for the Group, explained in a statement: "It is clear that there are serious gaps in our knowledge about the long-term effects of pesticides on human health and we believe there are flaws in the approval and policing process which urgently need to be addressed."

As such, the Group has said that it will no longer stock any fresh or frozen goods produced with pesticides. It has also made suggestions for alternative "green" pesticides to farmers, for example, the report suggests swapping chlorfenvinphos, the chemical used on cabbage root fly, for garlic spray. 

The group has also urged the UK government to follow its lead with a pesticide ban, Wrigley adding: "The government admits there is uncertainty about a large number of chemicals currently legally used to produce food sold in this country and many are under review. Now the government, which has accepted the need to block some chemicals, needs to go much further."