The Spanish Agency on Food Safety and Nutrition has looked at the human health risks associated with use of lead shot in hunting. I guess Spaniards eat quite a bit more game than you and I, and that hunters eat more than non-hunters do. If you are an Andalucian game-hunter (and I guess you are not, but if you are – Hola!) you eat about 23g of deer or wild boar meat per day.
This report seems to say what I have always assumed, that for the general public, game consumption is sufficiently low that despite the levels of lead in the meat it is nothing much to worry about. However, for those who eat lots of lead-shot game, and those who are most vulnerable to the impacts of lead (particularly on the nervous system) then a bit of caution is needed.
On that basis, this report suggests, amongst other things, that:
‘Children under 6 years of age, pregnant women and women who plan on getting pregnant should avoid eating the meat of game that has been shot with lead ammunition.‘
‘In adults, wild game meat consumption should be limited to a maximum of one portion per week (approx. 150 g)’
‘…limiting the use of lead ammunition in favour of other available alternatives should be promoted. The presence of Pb in wild game meat can be eliminated by using lead-free ammunition or reduced by using certain types of ammunition’
That all sounds sensible to me. I wonder whether it feels sensible to the Countryside Alliance who have a ‘Game to Eat‘ campaign which states that game is a tasty healthy alternative to lamb, chicken, beef or pork. The CA makes no mention that I can see of the potential downsides of lead to some sectors of the population. Their campaign suggests that we should all eat more game, and they oppose the move to non-toxic ammunition (despite its widespread use in other countries).