Future Generations

We don’t want to be alarmist, but the conclusions of a recent study from France on daily levels of food contaminants are worrisome, to say the least. The study was undertaken by the French environmental non-profit organization Générations Futures ( to assess the nature and quantities of chemicals ingested by children in a single day. The results are sobering:  36 synthetic pesticides were detected in the sample diet, 17 of them confirmed carcinogens and/or endocrine disruptors. In total, a “healthy” diet (see menu in the document) is laced with 128 chemical residues, three quarters of which are deemed potential carcinogens or endocrine disruptors. The complete report can be downloaded at Sharing the results of this study – which should not be surprising – may seem self-serving, but the bigger issue is recognizing the sea-change required in contemporary agriculture. While patience is a virtue, time is of the essence. Reducing pesticide use in vegetable and fruit production is like altering the course of an ocean liner – significant effort will be required to effect gradual change in the hope of delivering slow but inexorable results.