Sainsbury’s still selling toxic game meat, according to new research from Wild Justice

They’re still at it!

A year on from selling products labelled as ‘healthy’, Sainsbury’s is once again selling pheasant and partridge meat that contains poisonous lead shot, way above the legal levels allowed for meats such as beef, pork and chicken.

Conservation campaign group Wild Justice has bought and tested more samples this season and the shocking results have just been published this morning. You can read about the full results on the Wild Justice blog (here) but take a look at this graph to see just how contaminated the Sainsbury’s pheasant breasts and game mix packs are, in comparison to the chicken samples tested as a control group:

Animal welfare and biodiversity ethics aside, would you fancy eating this? Or feeding it to your children? How would you feel about this level of contaminated meat being ‘donated’ to foodbanks for those living in crisis this winter?

And once again Sainsbury’s is being supplied by game dealer ‘Holme Farmed Venison‘ in Yorkshire, a company that has previously refused to respond to reasonable queries from customers such as ‘From which estates are you sourcing your gamebirds?’ and ‘How can I be sure you’re sourcing them from estates that are not involved in the illegal persecution of birds of prey?’.

And once again, these products have been ‘endorsed’ by the British Game Alliance, the game shooting industry’s ‘official marketing board’ which has now apparently changed its name to British Game Assurance as a marketing ploy but still lacks transparency and thus credibility (e.g. see here).

To find out whether other supermarkets and big brand stores are selling contaminated game meat this season, keep an eye on the Wild Justice blog as other samples are currently undergoing analysis.

16 thoughts on “Sainsbury’s still selling toxic game meat, according to new research from Wild Justice”

  1. Given that game dealers usually use meat from badly shot or heavily shot birds for game pie mixes this is hardly surprising to the informed, it is however shocking that Sainsbury’s Supermarkets continue to sell such a product.

  2. Lead is clearly a health risk to the public health
    Lead is harmful to the environment
    Lead causes secondary poisoning if eaten be other wildlife, particularly birds of prey

    Grouse moor management is harmful to the environment……..

    Game pie……shame pie

  3. When the majority of rural areas relied on home grown meat, subsidised with shot game (whether that be rabbit, pheasant, partridge etc) for decades, with no I’ll effects, I find it mind-boggling to see such a drama over such minuscule traces in these products. What ever happened to common sense in these situations, my grandparents would be ashamed of what we have come to. Nothing was once thought of eating game and potentially having to spit out a pellet and leave it on the side of the plate. Even a fish bone is far more dangerous, so will banning fish from the shelves be next?!

    1. I think you might have ingested too much lead in your diet, as your ability to put together anything other than a puerile non-argument (fish bones, for goodness sake) is clear and obvious. Presumably you have a background in heavy metal toxicity? Please post any references that you have as to why lead in game meat is less toxic than lead in pork, beef or poultry.

    2. I agree. I like the old ways too. When I pick up our free range turkey crown before xmas I always set it on the wall about 45yds away and give it two barrels of 6’s. Then I drop it off a bridge to bruise it a bit Then I send the dogs down to mouth it a bit and fuss it, then run back with it, before throwing it in the trailer on the quad and bouncing it about the roads for a few miles. On xmas day I will feed it to the wife and kids but my granny won’t have any – she is very old and wise. She won’t eat pheasant either, she says she is not for getting caught out by the leisure shooting industry marketing their surplus crap to the public as wild and healthy food, under the auspices of a fake and invented tradition.

      1. During rationing, and for a long time after the Second World War, poaching game for the dinner table was common place. When a poacher had an innocent agenda, unlike the modern day poacher that is destructive and often looking for an opportunity to steal. I appreciate the concept of game shooting is more of the issue for many of you on here. I’d bet a lot of money that more people have died in the UK from fish bones, than the side effects of ingesting lead from meat. Especially a minuscule 10mg of lead per 1000000mg of meat. I mean, that is not going to do anyone any harm, especially when that is going off the highest figure!

        1. My uncle Charlie smoked 500 fags a day and lived to be 120! And what’s more…In them days, y’could knock your missus about wi-out bloody bobbys sticking their oar in!

        2. “During the woa’ar”, Uncle Albert and co. used to eat whale meat, being careful to pick the bones out of course. But at least the evils of ‘progress and prosperity’ hasn’t denied us a supply of poisoned, bruised and unwanted game meat barely fit to throw in the ferrets hutch.

        3. Has it occurred to you that the scientists might have a better grasp of safe lead levels than you and your ‘common sense’ chums ? As for safe fish bone levels you do probably have the field to yourself.

  4. Back in the olden days Somerset people were known for being ‘slow’. There was a good reason: Somerset Cider was much sharper than Herefordshire and to make it drinkable flowers of lead were added to sweeten it. A whole rural population was systemically poisoned.

    It’s worth pointing out that whilst lead free pheasants seem hard to come by, that is not the case for Venison. Forestry England and Forestry Scotland, by far and away the biggest venison suppliers, now use copper bullets. On top of that since the late 1980s Forestry Commission carcasses have been tagged before they leave the forest with cattle-style non-removable, uniquely numbered ear tags so carcasses are traceable to source

    1. There was ‘Devonshire Colic’, treated in the Bath Mineral Water Hospital. It’s a long time since I read of it, but I recall long-term immersion in the Hot Spring Bath and drinking large amounts of spring water led to Ca and Pb from the bones being removed in the urine*. The paper mentioned lead used in troughs etc in cider making, the acid in the juice dissolved the lead.

      ‘Hot Springs of Bath’, ed GA Kellaway

      Wiki has an entry for ‘Devon Colic’.

      *I guess the effect of immersion was akin to the weightlessness weakening astronauts’ bones. Whether the patients bothered getting out of the bath…

  5. W.H.O. on lead poisoning – bullet point 4 – ” There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects”.

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