Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks


ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - Food banks in the U.S. are on course for a preventable collision between record-setting food insecurity and lead-contaminated meat. Though hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to U.S. food banks, a lack of oversight could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals this year according to a recent article by MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21).

The implications for lead exposure are significant. According to annual lead inspection results that EHN obtained from Minnesota, other state agencies are likely exempting hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals from inspection each year. Recipients include people who may be most at risk to experience health effects from lead, including children and pregnant women.

Earlier this year EHN reported on the absence of information for hunters about the health effects of lead, and the lack of recognition that eating lead-shot meat is a risk factor for lead exposure. Now, interviews with multiple state agencies have revealed a similar lack of recognition that lead-shot meat is at risk for lead contamination. Experts say that exempting lead-shot meat from lead inspection is a matter of science denial and environmental injustice.

Read full story by MPH student Sam Totoni of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health.



Lead contamination in hunter-donated meat (diagram)


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