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Lead concentrations in commercial dogfood containing pheasant in the UK.

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Green, Rhys E 
Bates, Nicola 
Guiu, Maider 
Taggart, Mark A 


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.


Acknowledgements: We thank Wild Justice for funding the purchase and chemical analysis of dogfood samples and for making available raw data for Figure 3 (Table S3, also published in Pain et al. 2022). Wild Justice had no influence over whether or how results should be published and did not remunerate any authors for their time. We thank Guy Gordon (veterinary surgeon) for his assistance in providing X-ray images of samples and Barnett Rattner and Helle Katrine Knutsen for their help in acquiring references.

Funder: Wild Justice


Dogfood, Lead, Pheasant, Poisoning, Shot, UK, Animals, Humans, Dogs, Lead, Food Contamination, Animals, Wild, Meat, Chickens, United Kingdom

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC