It’s UK game week so it seems timely to re-visit the Sainsbury’s saga.
UK supermarket Sainsbury’s is selling gamebird meat which is potentially contaminated with toxic, poisonous lead shot.
The product of interest is this diced game casserole, produced by Home Farmed Venison in North Yorkshire and kitemarked by the British Game Alliance, which claims to be the official marketing board for the game shooting industry.
[Photos by Ruth Tingay]
It’s not illegal to sell toxic, lead-contaminated game meat; lots of supermarkets sell lead-contaminated gamebirds, although the more ethically responsible ones (Waitrose) have committed to selling lead-free meat by 2021 and the contaminated stuff they currently sell at least comes with a proper health warning (e.g. see here for the warning about toxic lead shot in the Waitrose Xmas pheasant).
It’s a bit like fags really. You can still buy them but they have to contain a public health warning. But unlike fags, poisonous game meat is still on full display on supermarket shelves and is often being marketed as the ‘healthy’ option!!
The game meat on sale at Sainsbury’s is of particular interest for two reasons.
(1) It’s the first time that a British Game Alliance-endorsed product has been promoted in a UK supermarket, and given the lack of transparency and confidence in this ‘official marketing board’ it is obviously going to lead to questions.
(2) There is no warning on the packaging about the product containing poisonous lead shot.
Sainsbury’s did respond to questions, but to be perfectly frank the answers given were pretty unconvincing and Sainsbury’s has now told one of our blog readers,
‘At present Sainsbury’s will not be providing any further update regarding your concerns, and we would encourage any further questions to be directed to Holme Farmed Vension, through their customer helpline‘.
Wow. And this is the supermarket that claims it wants to be ‘the UK’s most trusted retailer’.
Several blog readers have pointed out that this mixed game casserole is no longer available on Sainsbury’s website and have suggested this may be connected to the questions being asked of Sainsbury’s. This seems unlikely given that the casserole is still available in the supermarkets and its removal from the online store may instead simply be a result of a diminishing supply due to Covid restrictions.
Needless to say, there is now great interest in finding out whether Sainsbury’s claim that ‘there is no lead shot in this product’ is based on fact or wishful thinking.
There’ll be more on this in due course.