When Ecology and Safety Collide!

May 20th, 2008

I read two short but interesting articles lately. They indicated how not being ecologically sound in one area can have a potentially long term negative impact on safety in the food chain. One article was titled “Study finds lead in game meat”. The other was titled “Fla. warns of mercury levels in frog legs”.

I read two short but interesting articles lately. They indicated how not being ecologically sound in one area can have a potentially long term negative impact on safety in the food chain. One article was titled “Study finds lead in game meat”. The other was titled “Fla. warns of mercury levels in frog legs”. Now I must admit that I do not hunt, nor do I consume venison or frog legs. I have had venison before and I have eaten bison. I just don’t eat them on a regular basis.
So, where is the safety connection? Well, just as we have alternative energy sources, hunters have alternative ammunition choices. As in most green focused issues it does come down to the price. In the case of game meat, hunters have the choice of using non lead bullets or shot. Retailers also have the choice of selling non lead bullets or shot.
A study released last week by the Peregrine Fund and Washington State University shows that people who ingest game animals killed with lead bullets risk ingestion of poisonous metal. Even amounts formerly considered safe have a variety of health related issues associated with them.
Now, what about those frog legs? How did they get such high levels of Mercury?
Mercury gets into the air as a byproduct of industrial activities such as chlorine production, power generation from coal, garbage incineration, and some manufacturing processes. The airborne mercury from these activities is deposited on land and water, where microorganisms convert it into a more biologically active form, methyl mercury.
When humans or other animals consume the fish, we get the mercury that’s now in the fish. Short-term exposure to high concentrations of mercury vapor has harmful effects on the nervous system, digestive system, respiratory system, and kidneys. Long-term exposure to mercury can permanently damage the brain and kidneys at any age.
In the Florida article, health officials suggested that people eating a particular type of frog legs (pig frogs) should limit their consumption to one eight ounce serving per month.
What can retailers do? For one thing we can insure that our sources of supply for wild game and fish if we carry them certify that they are free of lead and mercury. We can ask our suppliers to insure that the processing plants they use are doing what is necessary to help in the reduction of mercury by supporting programs such as the Clear Skies Initiative.
I’ll probably eat game animals again at some point, but I’ll think more about it when I do.
I look forward to your comments.

Share This Post

If you thought this page is useful to your friend, use this form to send.
Friend Email
Enter your message

Leave a Reply