Lead week, 17 #Pbweekmia

This is Lead Week on this blog.

BASC says: ‘There is no risk to those who do not eat shot game meat more than once a week throughout the year

The Food Standards Agency says: ‘There is no agreed safe level for lead intake.’ and ‘occasional consumption of lead-shot game birds’ that would have minimal effect on overall exposure to lead would be ‘about twice a year


BASC says: ‘There is no risk to those eating small game if the pellet and pellet channel are cut out’

The Food Standards Agency says: ‘There is no agreed safe level for lead intake.’ and  ‘To minimise the risk of lead intake, people who frequently eat lead-shot game, particularly small game, should cut down their consumption. This is especially important for vulnerable groups such as toddlers and children, pregnant women and women trying for a baby, as exposure to lead can harm the developing brain and nervous system.

I say: Small game, Red Grouse, bought from Iceland Foods stores, and destined for human consumption, when all lead pellets were removed, contained an average of 100 times the Maximum Residue Levels for lead that would be legal for non-game meat.


BASC said yesterday, I assume in response to these blogs : ‘The average consumption of game meat as a whole equates to just under two grammes per person per week. Of that we estimate grouse to make up 0.06 grammes per person per week. To put that in context, Government figures show that the average consumption of all other meats per person per week in the UK equates to almost a kilogramme – 500 times the amount of game meat as a whole and 16,000 times the amount of grouse.

I say: BASC’s own data show that 23% of their own members’ households eat game (excluding venison and wild boar) once a week or more.  These families will, on the results of this study and all other similar studies that I know, be subjected to high dietary lead intake.  BASC has over 100,000 members. It seems that I care more about the health of BASC members than they do themselves.


Liz Truss and Defra:

  1. Why have you not published the report of the Lead Ammunition Group that you received very nearly eight months ago?
  2. Why have you not responded to the findings of that report?
  3. Why are you shielding the shooting industry from the results of an expert review on the impacts of lead ammunition on human health and wildlife?


Rob Sheldon has set up an e-petition to call on government to ban toxic lead ammunition – please sign his e-petition to ban toxic lead ammunition.

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16 Replies to “Lead week, 17 #Pbweekmia”

  1. One might reasonably assume therefore that if BASC are providing that information to their membership, that their insurance cover is at an appropriate level to facilitate any potential claims?

    1. A very good question to put to various insurance companies. Why would a private health insurance company pay out for health issues caused or exacerbated by the knowing consumption of lead?
      Might also have an impact on travel insurance??

  2. Some lead shot fanatics and their representative organisations are acting very much like the tobacco industry - deny the facts in the face of the inevitable ban.....doubt is our product.... etc - and they will be found out soon enough.

    It might be wise for BASC, CA, GWCT to concede that lead shot needs to be withdrawn and work with others to make the transition as smooth as possible.

  3. Is it just me or is the recent BASC response simply laughable. They seem to be arguing that because not many people eat grouse meat it doesn't matter whether those that do are being poisoned or not. This is one of the most ridiculous uses of statistics I've seen for a long time. On that basis the FSA shouldn't worry about anything unless a lot of people eat it - you can sell what you like as long as you don't sell too much of it!

    1. JamesR - it's not you - it's them! that is exactly what they are saying.

      They are also supporting various 'eat more game' initiatives which are trying to persuade people to eat more of the stuff that they are boasting that hardly anyone eats.

      We should tell the police not to bother with murders because hardly anyone is killed - a trivial percentage.

      Why is Defra not publishing the LAG report which will put all this nonsense to rest?

      1. Mark, you ask why DEFRA are not publishing the LAG report. In their reply to the other lead petition they talk extensively about setting up the group in 2010 and what they expect to be advised about. The final paragraph of the response is as follows:

        "The Lead Ammunition Group reported in 2015, though by the time it did so five of its ten members had resigned, with four of those subsequently submitting a different set of recommendations.
        The Government is considering its report."

        It looks to me as if the resignations and the alternative report from the "gang of four" may be used as a let out for DEFRA to rubbish the report!

        When DEFRA reply to Bob Sheldon's petition (now overdue) it will be interesting to see whether they deviate from their current response on lead ammunition.

        1. Richard - it's not really a reason why you and I cannot read a report written by a bunch of experts over a five year period though, is it?

          The LAG should consider publishing the report themselves. It's their work. They were all volunteers. It doesn't belong to Defra.

          1. Of course Mark we should have access to the full report. You put a link in above 'the report of the Lead Ammunition Group ' which I hope all your correspondents will read in full as it contains a huge amount of information.

      2. There's a fantastic photo opportunity in this for them .... Ministers outside Westminster palace chomping on a pellet free still full of toxic lead gourmet grouse burger fresh from YFTB celebrity estate, served by CA, Game Trust et. al. staff keen to demonstrate "Game to" approach on the day that the "Lead Ammunition, Wildlife and Human Health" Report is published?

        1. Or better still - get their child to eat it. "It's all perfectly safe"!! I seem to have heard that one before.

  4. Mark, I am really enjoying this concentrated approach. Good on you, let's have more like this. Any interest from the media?

    I am still utterly bemused why more people aren't signing Rob's petition though.

  5. In light of the very clear evidence in support of the total ban of lead ammunition, I am completely baffled by the responses from BASC and their ilk, not to mention Iceland (food you can trust). Even more confusing is that they support the continuance of using lead ammunition.
    Then you arrive at those who are pressing the 'dislike' tab on your posts, plus those starting a petition to keep lead ammunition, perhaps one and the same people. I can only conclude they themselves have succumbed to lead poisoning their brain and therefore their rational.

  6. I don't understand why those who feed this to their children are being charged with grievous bodily harm, child abuse, poisoning etc.

  7. Circus and others, you speculate widely. It is nothing like smoking in a car. Many risk factors are associated with lower iq in children, come are correlative ( e.g. Geography) and others causative ( alcohol during pregnancy, chemicals from beauty products and even procesed foods). It isn't necessarily a good thing to do either.

    With freshwater fish on mainland Europe the products are not sold with any heavy metal warning, but everyone is taught that metals in these foods could pose a risk to developing children both before and after birth. With recommendations being really low intake - like once every 3 months.

    As is repeated here - there is no known safe intake level for lead - that's the same advice for alcohol during pregnancy - yet different health professionals give different advice.

    Re BASC position - it is dependent on the 2012 fsa report not being officially update I assume - and a related EU study. Based on current advice, and that no example of relative risks have ever been published - it is not unreasonable ( they have made other unreasonable statements).

    Re LAG, based on GE response in the HoP discussion on lead. I tend to agree. Hopefully it will lead to more recognised and independent health experts getting involved. And perhaps filling some knowledge gaps. I remain unconvinced the peer review process will deal with this.

  8. It’s astonishing that Iceland Stores’ game meat remains legal with that amount of lead. Can they at least be challenged to declare it as an added ingredient?
    More seriously, is there a possibility of opening a parallel line of attack. What about becoming a shareholder and being allowed to attend their next AGM?
    The ‘AGM question and demonstration’ tactic is fast becoming a powerful tool for effecting democratic change in the face of the usual corporate obfuscation and denial.


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