Waitrose needs to get to an answer quickly, now

I have had the following further holding reply from Waitrose over the inaccurate health warning on their game meat.

Thank you for your patience Dr Avery.

Thank you for your recent email regarding our on pack advice about the consumption of shot game for certain groups of customers. Your comments about our current statement have been passed to our technical team who will review them in conjunction with the relevant advice from the FSA, Health England and our primary authority.    

I wish you a good weekend.


Waitrose & Partners Customer Care
Case Reference: 05597908
Saturday 8 December

Waitrose need to reach a conclusion  – and quickly now.  They are offering for sale game meat with a misleading health warning – in my opinion.

They have had my communication for two weeks and I know that I wasn’t the first to get in touch with them.  Their health warning is wrong, and errs on the side of false reassurance rather than false alarm so the onus is on them to fix it quickly.

This lunch time you will get the answer to this question – so have a think about it – how many emails does Natural England have in its system which mention Mark Avery?


Likes(34)Dislikes(8)
Website Pin Facebook Twitter Myspace Friendfeed Technorati del.icio.us Digg Google StumbleUpon Premium Responsive

Get email notifications of new blog posts

Registration confirmation will be emailed to you.


14 Replies to “Waitrose needs to get to an answer quickly, now”

  1. Well done Mark for pursuing this. It is good that Waitrose have referred the lead shot issue ro the Food Stanards Agency. It all helps to push the issue higher up the ladder and hopefully in the end, to reverse that terrible and clearly erroneous descision by LIz Truss not to ban lead shot.

    Likes(7)Dislikes(2)
  2. I was disappointed to see Nigel Slater advocate eating pigeon in the observer with no mention of the lead issue. Time it was one of the things at the top of the food agenda. Wild meat is OK but only if it contains no lead and the only way to be sure of that is to use a non-toxic shot. Wake up and smell the coffee Waitrose!

    Likes(6)Dislikes(2)
    1. So your happy to see Game on the shelf providing it is shot with a “ Non Toxic “ load ?
      The impact of consuming Steel is as yet unknown, Tungsten Matrix has been banned by the Dutch on the basis that it caused Cancer in rats ( Dubious ) , Bismuth , if you believe the scientists has a list of potential medical problems as long as your arm .
      In my opinion there is no such thing as a “ Non Toxic “ load , what we do know is that for any of the above to prove harmful to humans it has to be consumed in significantly large doses over a significant period of time, far greater than that to be found in Shot game , especially that provided to supermarkets for consumption by Joe Public . If what you want is an end to all game shooting then fine , but don’t wrap it up in some spurious attempt to demonise what is a perfectly healthy viable addition to the meat alternatives on our shelves .

      Likes(3)Dislikes(7)
        1. Pls feel free to enlighten me then on my obviously worthless contribution, you are of course much better placed to advise on the attributes or otherwise of the alternatives to lead than I .
          I look forward to being enlightened

          Likes(3)Dislikes(2)
      1. Malcolm I would limit your ability to shoot game but what I would like falls well short of a ban. I would ban driven grouse shooting but not walked up. I would severely limit or ban the release non-native of Pheasants and Red legged Partridges but not stop you shooting them ( the Dutch have already done this) I would not stop you wildfowling, where of course non toxic shot is already a legal requirement, nor stop you shooting rabbits, Grey Squirrels, deer or Wood Pigeons. I used to shoot all these things although rarely driven, usually for the pot and not in the last forty years very often.

        Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
  3. Who’s Mark Avery? Sounds like a bit of a bully boy to me. I have been eating shot game for 60 years , plucked it and dressed it. Lean organic and delicious. My family all female see it as one of the joys of the short days of winter.

    Likes(5)Dislikes(11)
    1. Roger I suggest that you read the Food Standards Agency advice on shot game. Nobody is trying to bully you into anything, least of all Mark, however the advice about lead shot game on the Waitrose label is somewhat inaccurate, you will understand this if you read the FSA advice. below is the EFSA advice, perhaps like the Danes we should have banned lead ammo long ago, they seem to cope admirably with non-toxic shot.
      Game meat shot with lead ammunition can contain high lead levels, but, consumption of game meat by the European population as a whole is low. This means that for the average consumer, who eats very little game meat, potatoes and cereals tend to be the greatest contributor to their dietary lead. However, for frequent consumers of game meat, especially hunters and their families, lead in game meat can contribute much more lead to their daily diet (see Buenz et al., 2018).The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Food Additives state that there are no safe thresholds when it comes to consumption of lead (EFSA, 2010).

      In this context, frequent consumers of game meat as well as children and women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are at greatest risk (because foetuses are most sensitive) should take steps to minimise their exposure.Game meat shot with lead ammunition can contain high lead levels, but, consumption of game meat by the European population as a whole is low. This means that for the average consumer, who eats very little game meat, potatoes and cereals tend to be the greatest contributor to their dietary lead. However, for frequent consumers of game meat, especially hunters and their families, lead in game meat can contribute much more lead to their daily diet (see Buenz et al., 2018).The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Food Additives state that there are no safe thresholds when it comes to consumption of lead (EFSA, 2010).

      In this context, frequent consumers of game meat as well as children and women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are at greatest risk (because foetuses are most sensitive) should take steps to minimise their exposure.Game meat shot with lead ammunition can contain high lead levels, but, consumption of game meat by the European population as a whole is low. This means that for the average consumer, who eats very little game meat, potatoes and cereals tend to be the greatest contributor to their dietary lead. However, for frequent consumers of game meat, especially hunters and their families, lead in game meat can contribute much more lead to their daily diet (see Buenz et al., 2018).The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Health Organisation Expert Committee on Food Additives state that there are no safe thresholds when it comes to consumption of lead (EFSA, 2010).

      In this context, frequent consumers of game meat as well as children and women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant are at greatest risk (because foetuses are most sensitive) should take steps to minimise their exposure.

      Likes(6)Dislikes(1)
    2. With respect Roger, that is rather like the statements by elderly people one sometimes hears claiming that they have smoked heavily all of their lives and it never did them any harm or prevented them reaching their advanced age. It is an anecdote that proves nothing at all.

      There is a huge amount of evidence that lead is a very toxic substance for which there is no known safe dose. It has also been clearly demonstrated that game meat can contain elevated levels of lead (well above that considered acceptable in other foods) and that, due to the tendency of pellets to fragment, careful removal of detectable pieces of shot is not enough to bring the level down.

      If you were to eat game shot with non-toxic ammunition you would still be able to enjoy the lean, organic deliciousness of it that you and your family esteem but without the risk of poisoning yourself. Like our hypothetical smoker you are of course entitled to ignore the risks and carry on eating lead but would you really wish to knowingly risk the health of those who are most susceptible to lead poisoning such as children and unborn babies (remember as well that, once ingested. lead accumulates in the bone and teeth but in pregnant women it is released from bone back into the blood stream where it threatens the development of the foetus, so those who may later become pregnant are also a significant at-risk group)?

      If your all female family are aware of these risks then of course they too are free to choose to take the risk but people buying game from the supermarket may well not be fully aware of the risk. They are entitled to assume (and almost certainly do) that the food they buy is safe to eat and they are entitled to be fairly and clearly informed if it is not completely safe. Think, for example, of Pret a Manger - most people can eat sesame and nuts perfectly safely but in the light of recent events who would question the need for a clearly marked warning of the presence these products in a sandwich so that the minority of people for whom sesame is a dangerous allergen can avoid them?

      In the same way it seems to be a no-brainer that people who might be particularly susceptible to lead should be provided with a clear, unambiguous and accurate warning about the potential effects of eating game. If anyone is guilty of bullying it is the game industry trying to keep information away from consumers - much like the tobacco industry who for years did everything they could to discredit the evidence that their product was harmful to health.

      Likes(4)Dislikes(1)
  4. The real answer to this is for Waitrose- and other supermarkets - to ask suppliers of game to supply it with lead-free produce.

    The single biggest supplier of 'game' (which it isn't really as its the product of wildlife management to protect trees & the forest environment)in Britain - Forest Enterprise England & Scotland is now supplying lead-free Venison and Wild Boar.

    Likes(6)Dislikes(0)
  5. Paul, are the years of consumption, before you went lead free, starting to take effect ?.
    Sorry, only kidding, it happens to us all now and again, seriously , are there any figures showing
    increases in broken teeth, with changes to steel shot ? .

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
    1. Trapit - might be, or might not be, but there is health advice on the subject of lead which is not reflected well in the Waitrose health warning.

      Likes(3)Dislikes(2)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.