Waitrose drops lead from game meat sales

See this piece in The Guardian.

Well done to Waitrose who, eventually, have taken a lead on lead.

By the 2020/21 shooting season all game will be lead-free in Waitrose.

As well as giving Waitrose massive credit for this move, much credit also needs to go to those scientists and members of the Lead Ammunition Group who despite their work being rudely ignored by Liz Truss while Secretary of State at Defra, have plugged away on this subject.

When one major supermarket recognises that lead is a poison that doesn’t belong in the food it sells to its customers, one has to wonder how other food retailers could even contemplate not following the Waitrose lead on lead. So what will Sainsbury’s, M&S, Tesco, Aldi, Lidl and others do on this subject? To do nothing is to continue to feed customers high levels of lead when a competitor has ditched the poisonous lead from its game meat. Watch this space…

And how very poorly has the Conservative government performed on this subject? Very, very poorly! It has failed through Liz Truss, Andrea Leadsom and Michael Gove to regulate on this subject when the science has been clear. It’s almost as though they were in the pockets of the game shooters.

And poorest of all has been the game shooting industry itself, which has stood idly by waiting to be told to stop shooting poison into food when they knew full well what the science demanded.

And BASC ‘s Caroline Bedell must have drawn the short straw when these pathetic words were put in her mouth;

As a market leader, we welcome Waitrose’s decision to stock and boost their wild game meat range. Any increase in the availability of game in the public market is good news for the rural sector. Game is a healthy source of protein, is growing in popularity, and we recognise Waitrose’s decision.


No mention of lead, no admission that the way ahead is lead-free. That was another opportunity missed by shooting to take responsibility for its faults.

Let’s see what GWCT, Moorland Association, and the Countryside Alliance, and BASC after some more thought, say on this issue.

This blog has been banging away about lead throughout its whole 8+ years of existence. Here are some blogs about Waitrose that were published last winter which may have played a small part in nudging them forward (only a very small part) 23 November, 26 November, 28 November, 3 December, 10 December, 14 December, 19 December, 29 December, 2 January, 3 January, 9 January, 14 January and 18 January .

Also, my British Birds paper on Pheasants (email admin@wildjustice.org.uk for a free electronic copy) is now out of date as far as Pheasant meat is concerned, or at least it will be after 2020 if you shop at Waitrose.

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6 Replies to “Waitrose drops lead from game meat sales”

  1. It all sounds very positive in the article but is there a good reason why they are waiting until the 2020-21 season?

    "We won't be selling poisoned meat in 2020, so if you want any you need to buy your poisoned game meat from us this year"

    Doesn't sound great, does it?

    1. Bimbling - these things take quite a lot of setting up so I'd cut them some slack, but if I were Waitrose I wouldn't have big game meat supplies this year...

  2. Any whimpers - oops, I mean comments - from Heather Hancock, head of Food Standards Agency, who has a family grouse moor or rather moors above Arncliffe in the lovely wildlife crime hotspot that is the Yorkshire Dales National Park?

    1. That's bloody outrageous, that the head of the food standards agency could be part of producing food with lead in it. Are they lead-free on her families estates? Otherwise, that's disgusting.

      I shall go into Waitrose (and Partners) today and congratulate them. Any connection, that the participatory, democratically-run supermarket is the first one to go lead-free? Co-op is the leader in fair-trade goods too. Not a coincidence I suspect. Well done the Bolton Pioneers!
      (And this convention that the names of elements aren't capitalised in English, is a right pain for clear writing! Perhaps we should make Lead an exception.)

  3. Well done Mark, you acknowledge others but this is substantially your win. M&S will surely now quickly follow and then it's dominoes falling.

    One think we can all do is just post the FSA guidance wherever it seems relevant to do so. If they won't we can: https://www.food.gov.uk/safety-hygiene/lead-shot-game


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