I also try to keep informed about the ingredients in the food that I buy.
I hope to learn what (if any) is the extent of the problem of food contamination. I also hope to learn what quality control mechanisms are in place to monitor the food supply for pesticides and prevent its contamination. I also would like to learn what measures are being taken in the developing world in the area of food safety for food produced for both the domestic market and export.
I dont expect my instructors and classmates to know much about the topic. Most people take the food they eat for granted and dont give it much thought. In addition it is a fairly technical topic and although it can be grasped without having a specific technical background it is not a "lightweight" topic.
Because this topic is not so well known I think that I will have to include a fair amount of history and background about the topic. This may include descriptions of the types of pesticides used on crops and the techniques used to detect them.
I narrowed the time period of the topic by using only modern references, which should limit the scope to the modern period. In addition because chemical pesticides are a fairly recent invention all the material connected with the subject is fairly modern
The topic is limited by several factors. First of all, as mentioned above chemical pesticides have not been in existence for a long period. In addition, new substances are coming on the market all the time and there may not as yet be a way to detect them.
The problem of food contamination can be seen in the wider context of food safety in general. Food safety was not a large issue until increasing interest by the public led to the founding of the Food and Drug Administration in the 20th century. Since then the issue has become increasingly important and the issue of pesticide contamination was brought to the publics attention by the publication of Rachel Carsons Silent Spring