No game meat during pregnancy

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Pregnant women and children should avoid venison

Infants, women who want to have children and pregnant women should not consume game meat. This is pointed out by the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment. The reason: The wild animals are shot with lead ammunition so that the meat is contaminated with lead over a large area.

Children and women during pregnancy should not eat venison. Food and drinking water in Germany already contain much higher lead concentrations. This means that the lead intake from other foods is already relatively high. Therefore, eating game meat such as deer, deer or wild boar could endanger the health of consumers. According to some studies, "there is an increased risk of weekly consumption," explained the President of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment Professor Andreas Hensel in Berlin. Young children up to the age of seven and unborn babies in the womb are at high risk, "for whom a low lead intake is already increasing Hensel said. Outside of this risk group, there is only a small health risk if the wild animal is only eaten in moderate and small quantities. Then the health risk is negligible, according to the chairman of the "BfR".

The authority has issued the warning message because new data collections have been expanded. Therefore, a new risk assessment has now been carried out by the BfR. Lead shot is used for hunting. According to analyzes, the projectiles leave lead fragments in the killed animal. The hunting bullets deform or shatter on impact and leaded articles and fragments loosen. These fragments then remain in the game meat and penetrate deeply. The argument that the bullet point is cut out generously is not sufficient to significantly minimize contamination. The lead exposure is still detectable in the laboratory. In addition, the lead splinters in the meat are barely visible to the naked eye. An increased concentration of lead in the body can change blood formation, damage the central nervous system and internal organs. Children, in particular, can suffer nerve damage and developmental disorders through increased concentrations.

Lead is not only absorbed by game meat, but also by the air we breathe, tobacco smoke, drinking water, lead-ceramic dishes, paint and rust protection coatings and lead-based artist paints. The pollutant settles in the cones, muscles and brain and is stored there for years. The lead gradually secretes itself, so that lead concentrations in the blood can be detected even years after exposure. Even infants take lead in their mother's belly and babies drink it with their breast milk.

Consumer advocates and nature groups have long warned against the use of leaded hunting ammunition. The discussion was initiated by a study by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin. The researchers found that eagles died of lead poisoning after eating killed animals. The scientists were also able to demonstrate the massive splintering effect, as a result of which the lead is distributed enormously in the body. Consumers have repeatedly asked hunting associations to forego leaded ammunition in the future. The German Hunting Association rejected the criticism and warned against “scaremongering”. In October the BfR was to be invited to a survey among hunters. In particular, this is intended to behave in terms of consumption and clarify the use of hunting ammunition. The association asked the industry to design new projectiles without lead. In Germany, an average of 600 grams of game meat is eaten per head per year. There is an acute danger especially for hunting families that consume a lot of game. (sb)

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Image: Rita Thielen /

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