Lead Week, 11 #Pbweekmia

This is Lead Week on this blog.

Pb shot grouse 2

These are the same data presented in a slightly different way – here we can see the means of the data in each category of #shot removed.

You can see that the mean lead levels of the samples rise with the number of shot found in each Red Grouse – but there is a huge variation. The number of shot found in a Red Grouse carcass sold by Iceland Foods is not a good indicator of its lead level: the highest sample value did come from a Red Grouse with four pellets in it, but the second highest came from one in which no pellets were found.  This suggests that if you eat a Red Grouse (Pheasant, partridge, pigeon) and don’t find any pellets in it, you cannot breathe a sigh of relief about how much lead you have just ingested – it really doesn’t tell you that much.

Remember, the lead levels are measured in 1g (dry weight) samples from the homogenised meat of single Red Grouse. You’d expect homogenisation to mix the lead up pretty well, but not necessarily perfectly.  It would be rash to assume that all the meat on the Red Grouse with the highest sample reading was that high, just as it would be rash to assume that all the meat from the lower samples would be that low. There will be variation within the carcass, which might well persist after homogenisation. So these 40 samples from 40 different Red Grouse tell us more about how much lead you could expect to consume if you were a frequent lead eater than how much lead there was if you had eaten the whole of any one of these Red Grouse.

However, the arithmetic mean of the lead levels from this quite large (40) sample of birds should be quite a good estimate of the lead levels ingested by a frequent eater of game. The average lead level across the 40 samples was 10.79 (let’s call it 11, mg Pb/ kg w.w.) and was therefore, 110 times the MRL for beef, pork, chicken etc.  There was, on average, 110 times the lead level in these samples of game meat bought at Iceland than it would be legal to sell if they had been beef, pork, chicken etc.

Just remember, there is no Maximum Residue Level set for lead levels in game meat so it is perfectly legal to sell this meat with these very high lead levels. In fact, it would be legal to sell game meat with even higher levels.

You should digest that for a while now.






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9 Replies to “Lead Week, 11 #Pbweekmia”

  1. On this topic, the gov's response to the petition to keep Lead ammunition is quite encouraging. They certainly don't say they support it - although they don't mention signing the convention to get rid of it either. It's good that we keep up the pressure.

  2. Looking forward to Andrew Gilruth's and Tim Bonner's rebuttals. Will Mr. Bonner produce another GIF to illustrate how to remove lead from game, once all the lead shot has been removed?

      1. See also Adrian Blackmore's selective reporting and forms of words in the weekend's Yorkshire Post. Blackmore signs himself as the Director of Shooting at the Countryside Alliance - you know, that organisation which purports 🙁 to represent all rural folk 😉

        No surprise that he / YP are deafeningly silent on the issue of missing Hen Harriers on the grouse moors he waxes so lyrically about.

        It would have been nice to have said that one would expect better from a broadsheet like the YP then again without balance or information from the other side in an case then they risk their reputation?

        90% of £52m of private investment (so possibly £46.8m) he asserts goes into the economy, so how much do collectively the estate/landowners receive by way of public welfare payments? No mention of the issue with water quality etc. or associated cost to utility companies displays utter contempt to a readership they are trying to manipulate?

        Any agnostic with an iota of knowledge (never mind someone having read Inglorious, Monbiot et. al.) might be forgiven for thinking the CA as uninformed possibly poorly educated bumpkins?


  3. It's a fairly damming indictment. I wonder what the gov vet labs, who are supposed to inspect these things would make of the results?
    It would also be interesting to see the same work done to investigate biological pathogens. The basic hygiene of game handling is very distant from the normal food pathways..

    1. Yes, with the illegal advise given by GWCT to the grouse moor owners (exposed on this blog) i would be very surprised if the grouse lobby adhere to the 28 day rule for exposure to veterinary drugs. If so it would be about the only rule they do obey.


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