In reply to this blog, M&S have just recently tweeted:
‘Last year we worked with independent industry experts & the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust to introduce the industry’s first ‘Codes of Practice’ to ensure all our game, including grouse, is sourced to the highest standards of game & moorland management. In accordance with this, we’re currently working with our supplier to monitor numbers for this season and will only stock grouse if the numbers are strong enough. Thanks.‘
In the absence of any information to the contrary (eg the M&S are stipulating that their grouse must be sourced from suppliers that use non-toxic ammunition) this means that M&S are prepared to sell their customers meat with lead levels that are over 100 times those that would be legal for other meats. Really?
To remind M&S, and others, Red Grouse meat bought from Iceland stores last year was tested for lead levels and it was found that three quarters of samples had higher lead levels than would be legal for beef, pork, chicken etc; a third of samples had levels more than ten times the levels that would be legal for other meats, one (out of 40 samples) had lead levels 169 times the lead levels that are legal for other meats and another had lead levels that were over 3500 times the legal lead levels for other meats. Iceland stores have never responded to these results but are not expected to sell Red Grouse in their stores again and yet M&S appear to be sanguine about selling the public Red Grouse meat contaminated with high levels of a poison. M&S food – simply wrong!
I notice there is no mention of the RSPB in the above statement – though the RSPB were working with GWCT and M&S on this matter in the past? Where have they gone?
And who are these independent industry experts – and which industry are we talking about? The game producing industry? In which case how independent are they.
Presumably M&S will be willing to name the estates from which they might source any Red Grouse that they sell, to enable the public to decide whether or not those estates really are worthy of our support?
There are many questions that M&S need to answer to convince me that they have taken any care at all about this matter. And if M&S do sell Red Grouse, shot with toxic lead ammunition in their stores, then they will be losing this active customer.