Biting the bullet: a call for action on lead-contaminated meat in food-banks
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionAmerican Journal of Public Health. 2022, 112 S651-S654. 10.2105/AJPH.2022.307069
Each year in the United States, food banks receive more than one million kilograms of donated hunted game meat. The National Rifle Association’s (NRA’s) Hunters for the Hungry initiative has established programs in more than 40 states for hunters to take their harvested game animal to a meat processing facility and indicate intent to donate the resulting processed and packaged meat to a local food bank. Most donated game meat is ground deer meat (venison); other donated game includes wild hog and goose. Even though the presence of ammunition-derived metallic lead fragments in donated firearms-hunted meat has been recognized for more than a decade, most of the donated hunted meat is not inspected to discard meat containing lead fragments. An underlying lack of food safety standards for adulterated donated food increases risks to low-income recipients, who are already disproportionately affected by elevated blood lead levels (BLLs).2 Primary prevention is needed for this overlooked source of lead exposure.