Toxic metals in meat contributed by helicopter and rifle thoracic killing of game meat animals

Publication Year:

Processes of killing wild game meat animals could introduce toxic metals into the animal’s meat, which subsequently may pose a risk of consumer exposure to toxins during ingestion. In most cases, toxic metals occur naturally in the environment and may be found in traces in different parts of a game meat animal. However, some of these metals are also introduced to meat animals by bullets used during the hunting and killing of game meat animals. These bullets are generally made from metals such as lead, arsenic, and copper, all of which have strictly regulated limits in food products including meat. Samples of helicopter-killed impala in the area around the bullet/pellets’ wound (n = 9) and from animals killed by a single projectile (n = 9) were analysed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The type of bullet used influenced the mean concentration of some of these toxic metals (mg/Kg) in meat samples; helicopter killing resulted in the following levels of As (0.665, SD = 1.95); Cd (0.000, SD = 0.000); Pb (620.18, SD = 1247.6); and Hg (0.017 SD = 0.033) compared to single projectile killing that resulted in the following levels: As (0.123, SD = 0.221); Cd (0.008, SD = 0.021); Pb (1610.79, SD = 1384.5); and Hg (0.028, SD = 0.085). The number of samples per metal with levels above the EU products’ limits were Pb = 18/18 samples from both killing methods, As = 2/18 samples from helicopter killing, Cd- = 1/18 from rifle killing and Hg = 0/18. To minimise the risks of toxic metals posed by bullets, the use of lead (Pb) free bullets should be encouraged, and the control of meat animal killing methods must always be performed, especially for meat contamination prevention. Keywords: toxic metal, arsenic, lead, cadmium, mercury, thorax and helicopter killing.

Publication Title:

Applied Sciences

Item Type:
Journal Article

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