UK and EU regulators are evaluating the potential health benefits of restricting the use of lead ammunition. Little information is available on exposure of pets to ammunition-derived dietary lead from petfood containing meat from wild-shot game animals. We found dogfood including wild-shot pheasant meat to be widely available in the UK. 77% of samples from three raw pheasant dogfood products exceeded the EU maximum residue level (MRL) for lead in animal feed, with mean concentrations approximately 245, 135 and 49 times above the MRL. Concentrations > MRL were also found in a dried food containing pheasant, but not in a processed food, nor in chicken-based products. Lead concentrations in raw pheasant dogfood considerably exceeded those in pheasant meat sold for human consumption, possibly because the dogfood mincing process further fragmented lead particles from shot. Dogs frequently consuming such high-lead food risk adverse health effects; this should be considered within decision-making processes about regulation.
|Publication status||Published - 3 May 2023|