A new study of French wine says that nine out of every ten bottles contain pesticide traces. Merde.
Published in the wine trade journal
Debbie Downer Decanter, the study tested 300 French wines for pesticide residue. Happily, none went above the limits set by the French environmental agency–but Pascal Chatonnet, the leader of the study, says that doesn’t mean they’re all safe:
‘Even though the individual molecules were below threshold levels of toxicity,’ Chatonnet told Decanter.com, ‘there is a worrying lack of research into the accumulation effect, and how the molecules interact with each other.
‘It is possible that the presence of several molecules combined is more harmful than a higher level of a single molecule,’ he said.
He also says that the findings should worry producers more than consumers; the people applying pesticides and working in the fields who are at higher risk for exposure than wine-lovers.
Chattonet is a wine producer himself, and he founded the lab (Excell) that conducted the pesticide tests. His wines aren’t organic, so his investigations are especially encouraging for those of us who’d like to see the wine industry deal with these issues, rather than push them under the rug or limit concerned wine drinkers to organic or natural wines (which, it should be said, aren’t necessarily guaranteed to be pesticide-free, either).
I won’t stop drinking French wines for fear of pesticides (after all, similar research recently found that pesticides are present in wines all across Europe; not just in France), but I might just do a little more research about which producers are doing the most to ensure that their wines are safe. (You know, once I have enough money to fill in the old wine cellar.)