Food Standards Agency warns pregnant women and children against toxic game meat

Posted on the 12th October 2012

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has released a report that advises those who regularly eat ‘game’ killed with lead shot to reduce consumption because the meat is potentially toxic. The FSA’s Director of Food Safety stated that the warning was particularly important for pregnant women and children because ‘exposure to lead can harm the developing brain and nervous system’.

People who eat birds killed with lead shot – such as pheasant and partridge – are at risk if they eat more than 100g (3.5oz) per week. Cooking the meat in acidic liquids, such as wine or vinegar, may cause the lead to dissolve, making it easier to absorb.

The use of lead shot has been a contentious issue for many years and is already prohibited in wetland areas. However, according to the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust (WWT), lead shot is to blame for poisoning thousands of waterbirds and up to 70 per cent of ducks shot the UK are killed with lead shot.

The FSA’s report deals another blow to the shooting industry, which mass-produces around 50 million pheasants and partridges each year. Pro-shoot lobby groups have consistently tried to market ‘game’ meat as healthy and natural, but the FSA’s findings clearly show that nothing could be further from the truth.

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