Two cheers for Waitrose

I popped into my local Waitrose today to check out the game on sale.

This ‘Good Health’ Pheasant breast has a health warning on the bottom of the packet.  It’s good that Waitrose is highlighting the lead issue – although it comes closer to lowlighting than highlighting, I’d say.

I wonder what other supermarkets selling game do in this regard? If you are out shoppping this weekend and see any game on sale, I’d love to see your photographs, please.

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17 Replies to “Two cheers for Waitrose”

  1. I do find it strange that supermarkets don’t insist that shot animals are killed without the use of lead ammunition.
    They seem able to bend farmers to their will. The shooting industry is a 3much harder but to crack, even allowing poisonous substances to be reduced to a small warning quite hidden away.


  2. What a disgrace this Government is. It is still in the antideluvian era, amongst so many other things, still allowing lead shot to be used.
    It is note worthy that some other European countries such as The Netherlands have completely banned the the breeding of pheasants and their release for shooting.
    Again, it is a disgrace that driving along the minor roads through the Chilterns one sees far far more pheasants than any native bird. Pheasants are so high in numbers in the Chilterns that they must be having a serious impact on our native fauns. We know for a fact that pheasants kill reptiles and are largely responsible for the serious demise of the adder and common lizard.
    Once we have won the battle on the grouse moors we need to then campaign for a ban on pheasant shooting and a ban on any individual owning a gun.

  3. It might help if they wrote ‘lead’ shot – or ‘may be contaminated with lead from shot’ – writing ‘shot’ is probably confusing to many people who don’t shoot things.

  4. The Waitrose ‘Good Health’ symbol:

    “We guarantee that every product carrying the
    Good Health label provides a clear nutritional
    benefit, helping you to get the vitamins, minerals
    and healthier fats that are important as part of
    a balanced, healthy diet.”

    I suppose, to be fair, they don’t guarantee to exclude disbenefits such as lead poisoning and so forth.

    By coincidence, looking for a place to eat near the culinary desert that is Gatwick airport today, I re-registered with the Good Food Guide, which Waitrose now own, or sponsor or something. And their first recommended place I looked at has grouse on the menu. Quite where it comes from I can’t guess (it would be impossible to find out) but perhaps it’s been in the freezer since last year when there was more shooting. But I bet Restaurant Tristan in Horsham does not give that summary of the FSA advice.

    Incidentally a little bird in Carlisle told me the other day that estates now have to pay to get dealers to take their dead pheasants away. So the supply chain that allows Waitrose to bring you any three of those unrecyclable plastic wrapped packages for £10 may include them being paid to take the lead-impregnated pheasant body parts within. Yum.

  5. I am eating pheasant at least once a week at the moment, sometimes more, however it contains no lead shot. Some of it comes out of a walk-in trap so they have no shot at all and some of it is shot with copper using my air rifle. If we don’t control them in the garden and rest of the small holding the bloody things eat all our winter vegetables and I know the local shoot will compensate us!
    They were out very close today blasting away, sounded like world war, tough these game shooters, pheasants never fight back except by falling on them ( the revenge of the living target!)! How I wish we were like the Dutch and I believe a few states in Germany where they have banned release of alien game birds but not the shooting, so it is a little less like canned hunting and probably less intensively managed, with an end point in the future.

  6. Booth’s sell game casserole from Furness Game Ltd. Who know what’s in that, except there’s bound to be lead fragments. It’s often remaindered. I wonder why?

    1. After he had retired from ICI my father used to do the books for a game dealer in North Yorkshire and was often there ( I think he missed the working environment and the company). The stuff for game pies was apart from pigeon and rabbit always the badly shot stuff so probably heavily contaminated. Myself I’d only eat game casserole if I had obtained and prepared the meat myself. I like game meat but not lead!
      All lead ammunition is unnecessary these days even if you own a vintage Purdy and nonlead shot has been shown to be just as effective at killing the target. The government have reneged on an international agreement they signed by not banning lead and there is just no excuse. Many continental markets are now closed to much UK shot game because of the lead shot as I understand it. The loonies from the Countryside Areliars are still campaigning for the retention of lead shot they must be completely bloody mad or is that just lead poisoned?

  7. This from the GWTC website:

    “Given that, at current rates of consumption, world lead deposits are predicted to run out by 2050, the necessity to develop effective alternative ammunitions is likely to become more pressing.”

    Oh well that’s OK. Let’s keep scattering it about our countryside until then.

    1. Current reports, or is that admissions, from some in the “game industry” strongly suggest that this has already been done. There is even ammunition that can be safely and effectively used in those very valuable made to measure guns by the likes of Purdey or Holland and Holland, one sometimes wonders how prevalent in todays shooting such guns are but the important thing is there is a none lead ammunition to suit. Some countries banned lead long ago, Denmark is a classic example, with their game shooters not wishing to return to lead.
      Its that same old resistance, which I believe is at least two fold (1) we will not be told what to do! (2) how dare the ordinary folk and politicians even suggest to we country folk and aristocracy what we can do in our own time on our own land! This latter is one of the reasons I believe raptor persecution continues, its a case of resistance to being told what to do or not as the case may be and we know best.

  8. I have a proposal for a further petition to the UK government proposing the banning of lead ammunition, and perhaps some people might be interested in reviewing the proposal and becoming either the proposer or one of the 5 seconders needed for a uk petition. I’m happy in either role. We know DEFRA have rejected the updated report from the Lead ammunition group earlier this year, but who knows what the position might be in 6 months. I hesitate to believe that Michael Gove might be interested, but I’d not put a bet on him continuing the same policy. You can find it here:

  9. On the subject of lead, but somewhat tangentially related, I noticed a report in the latest issue of the New England Journal of Medicine about the ingestion and smuggling of opium. Apparently lead is being added to opium packets to increase the weight (and apparent amount of opium).
    I found it remarkable that the authors of this report thought it worth highlighting the potential dangers and toxic effects associated with ingesting lead but the dangers associated with swallowing 30 packs of opium, as the smuggler in this case had, didn’t seem worthy of mention!

    They state:
    “Exposure to lead at such high concentrations can cause severe toxic effects that can manifest as neurologic and gastrointestinal signs and symptoms, including encephalopathy, altered mental status, seizures, abdominal pain, vomiting, constipation, and anorexia”

    “Ingestion of Lead-Contaminated Packs of Opium”

    Would it be a stretch to draw parallels between the criminal gangs who traffick lead-aldulterated drugs which harm the smackheads who take them and game shooting?

  10. Of course fishing lead weights are 10,000 times more contanmnitive but god forbid fishing is banned

    1. George – nobody is trying to ban shooting completely – just to get a switch to non-toxic ammunition (ask the Danes whether they stopped shooting). there are other reasons for banning driven grouse shoting however.

      Lead weights (or almost all sizes) are banned for fishing and have been for a long time. You must be living in the last century (or perhaps the one before that?). See ‘It remains illegal in the UK to use lead weights of less than 1oz in weight, or 28.35 grams, with fines up to £5000 and confiscation of your fishing tackle possible.’ at

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