The agency advised women of childbearing age and children to avoid eating large wild game (deer and wild boar) given the level of lead contamination.
It added the available data only gave a partial picture of the situation in France.
La Direction générale de l’alimentation et la Direction générale de la santé told ANSES in 2015 to do an expert appraisal on the health risk associated with eating wild game and levels of certain environmental chemical contaminants (dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), cadmium and lead).
Lead reduced as much as possible
Wild game are exposed to contaminants found in the environment (soil, air, water and vegetation). The majority of game sold in supermarkets is farmed and will have no or low contaminant levels.
No data on acceptable concentration or maximum content of chemical contaminants have been defined with regards to game meat or liver.
No EU member state has set a maximum level for game but Germany, Norway and the UK have established consumption recommendations.
The UK FSA’s advice since 2012 is that frequent consumers of lead-shot game should eat less of the meat.
ANSES said more detail is needed on the contamination levels of small and large wild game and dietary exposure of game consumers.
The agency proposed measures to reduce consumer exposure to lead including advising occasional consumption of around three times a year.
Wild game shot with lead
Part of higher concentration in wild game compared to farmed game comes from the environment but it is also linked to ammunition fragmentation, which is responsible for high contamination values in a wide area around the bullet's trajectory.
“Various levers for action could help reduce lead exposure associated with the consumption of meat from large wild game. They include substituting lead ammunition, trimming away the meat around the bullet's trajectory, and following consumption recommendations.”
Conclusions are based on data collected as part of control plans by local authorities.
Lead and cadmium were analysed by Electrothermal Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (ETAAS) and Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS).
Based on data from 2006-2015, cadmium was found mainly in the liver of wild game.
Analysis of the available data found lead is more concentrated in wild animals with the highest concentrations in the muscles.