Fears of lead contamination in game meat should not be exaggerated, according to the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC).
Pound-for-pound there is more lead in chocolate than game and the European Food Safety Authority says the greatest source of lead in food is from cereals and potatoes.*
The EFSA says that current evidence does not indicate a different risk for vegetarians, normal adults and those who consume high levels of game meat. It says the clinically important effects in adults are ‘low to negligible.’
The advice from the Food Standards Agency claims that there is a risk to those who eat large amounts, that is more than once a week. A review of the risk of lead shot in food is already being conducted by the Lead Ammunition Group which the Government established at the request of the FSA and Defra. It is expected to report to ministers in the New Year.
BASC’s director of communications, Christopher Graffius, said: “There is lead in all food stuffs and we should see the purported risk of lead in game meat in a sensible perspective. There is no evidence of harm to those of us who eat game less than once every week. Compared with other meats wild game is low in fats and entirely natural, representing a healthy option to intensively reared products.”
*EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM); Scientific Opinion on Lead in Food. EFSA Journal 2010; 8(4):1570.