This is Lead Week on this blog.
Dear Supermarkets who sell game meat
There are quite a few supermarkets who sell, or have sold, game meat. I believe they are all aware of this series of blogs on the lead content of game meat. Some have said that they will look into it – that’s good. It’s good provided that they do look into it and then come back with their policy on selling game meat with lead in it.
Other supermarkets may have noticed that Iceland Foods has sold Red Grouse meat to the public with average lead values of 40 sampled grouse that are 100 times the legal limit for lead (MRL – maximum residue level) for non-game meat. There is no MRL set for game meat, despite the fact that lead is a poison, and most game is shot with lead even though it need not be as non-toxic alternatives exist. Other supermarket chains may be breathing a sigh of relief that they are not in the spotlight, but they know that they could be.
It is perfectly legal to sell game meat with high, very high, or even extraordinarily high lead levels. But is it ethical? And does this behaviour accord with various supermarkets’ codes of conduct and stated policies? We’ll have to have a look at that and the supermarkets themselves should be thinking about it, right now.
Here are some other questions to ponder if you are a supermarket chain selling game meat:
- have you tested the lead levels of your game meat? If not, why not? And if not, will you do so now?
- have you asked your suppliers to supply you with game shot with non-toxic ammunition in future? If not, why not?
- do you label your game meat to say that it contains lead? If not, why not? If so, what other information on the impacts of lead on blood pressure, kidney disease, spontaneous abortion and IQ does your label contain?
- is selling game meat with high lead levels in it a money earner for you?
- by marketing lead-shot game you are almost inevitably growing the market and increasing the dietary lead intake of the public – bit by bit. Are you happy to be playing a part in this?
You should all have the chance to review your positions. That shouldn’t take very long.
I intend to raise funds to buy game meat from another retail outlet and get them tested for lead levels. I will publish the results.