Still waiting for Waitrose

I’m waiting patiently for Waitrose’s response on the subject of the wording of their health warning on game meat (see here), although I did get a holding response from them today, as follows.

Good morning Dr Avery.

Thank you for your recent email regarding the labelling on our game products. I have asked for some assistance to look into your valid concerns you have raised.

I will be back in touch again soon.

Kind regards 

Waitrose & Partners Customer Care
Case Reference: 05597908

It’s good that Waitrose have a health warning because they aren’t required to do so even though everyone seems to be agreed that eating lead-shot game is not something for pregnant women or young children to do.  The wording of the Waitrose warning is misleading and I’m hoping that they will sort it out.

Waitrose is a supermarket – not a research institute or a public health agency.  I can understand why Waitrose has got into this difficult position – they have tried to do the right thing, and rather mucked it up.  I’d love to know how that happened and who they went to for expert advice.

But the fault really lies with Defra, and ultimately with Liz Truss who failed to act on the recommendations of the Lead Ammunition Group.  If she had taken notice of that expert report then poisonous lead ammunition might even now be banned in the UK and Waitrose wouldn’t have to try to get their facts right about health warnings to their customers.

Government ducked its responsibity and most sellers of game meat are selling game to the public without any health warning at all.  That is the fault of government, of Defra.

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5 Replies to “Still waiting for Waitrose”

  1. I received the following today:
    "Thank you for your email and feedback.
    I have passed the body of your email to our buyer and suppliers for them to fully investigate this for you and our other customers.
    I have also emailed the implementation team to see if they could support with this process.
    Thank you for bringing it to my attention."

    I had sent the following, much as I assume others had done:
    "I am writing about your product Pheasant Breast fillets labelled as “good health” but advise that they may contain lead shot. Additionally you advise that vulnerable groups do not eat more than one portion per week whereas the FSA advise that there is no safe level for consumption of game shot with lead ammunition, and NHS England advise some groups to avoid such products.
    If you are not prepared to source only game birds shot without lead shot being used, which is possible and the best solution, can I suggest that you revise the writing on the product(s) more in line with scientific advice?"
    The response which Defra gave to answer Lord Krebs request about the updated report from the lead ammunition group this year was quite insulting, as it referred to the ban on wildfowl shooting with lead which the 2018 report said was ineffective.

    1. My email was worded slightly differently with a slightly different response.

      “Thank you for your email and feedback, all feedback is extremely important to us.

      I have passed this to our buyers and supplier for further investigation regarding our game meat packaging.”

      Doing better than the MPs aren’t they, both with the time of response and not just pressing the same old button. Three different emails and three (slightly different) responses.
      So far, so good.

  2. Quite right again Mark, as you say the fault definitely lies with Defra and in particular with Liz Truss who was a very poor Secretary of State. I am afraid it is just yet another example of how most Tories have very little regard for our wildlife. Meanwhile our Swans, ducks and geese continue to die of lead poisoning picked up by bottom feeding in ponds and lakes where shooting has or does occur.


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