In England, the Food Standards Agency is warning hunters that eating lead-shot game frequently can expose them to potentially harmful levels of lead. FSA Director of Food Safety Dr. Alison Gleadle said, “this advice is targeted specifically at the small number of people who eat lead-shot game on a frequent basis. People who frequently eat lead-shot game, particularly small game, should cut down their consumption. This advice is especially important for vulnerable groups such as toddlers and children, pregnant women and women trying for a baby, as exposure to lead can harm the developing brain and nervous system.”
Not all game is shot with lead shot or bullets. The large game sold in supermarkets is farmed and is not a concern. If you aren’t sure if the game you eat is shot with lead ammunition, ask your supplier. Lead levels are high in small game killed with lead, since the smaller edible portion of the animal is likely to contain lead. Anyone who eats about 100 grams of lead-shot game birds weekly could have four times the dietary consumption of lead as someone who does not eat that food.
There is no safe level for lead intake. Scientists and doctors say that exposure to lead should be reduced as much as possible. While lead occurs naturally in nature, human activity and industrial use has contributed to its presence in the environment. Food is the major source of lead exposure in human beings. Since lead accumulates in the body, it can affect the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and kidneys.