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TDK conference 2018

Food safety aspects of environmental polluting heavy metals (As, Cd, Cu, Hg, Pb) in wild boar
Lénárt Zoltán - year 5
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Food Hygiene
Supervisor: Dr. József Lehel


The environmental polluting heavy metals can cause significantly increased contamination in edible tissues of game animals. Thus, their regulation is an important part of public health aspects. The consumption of game meat may raise various forms of food-toxicological risks due to the accumulation of heavy metals influenced by different factors. Animal tissues are some kind of indicator of the status of the environment pollution, because they can accumulate harmful elements due to antropogenic activities (e.g. traffic, agriculture, industry etc.). However, the regulations of the European Union and Hungary in force lay down maximum levels for limited number of heavy metals that may pose significant risk to consumers, especially to above the mean consumers (hunter and his/her family).

Among wild game animals, the wild boar is one of the most popular. The average consumption of wild boar’s meat is different varies by country and region, but it is becoming more and more popular due to its low market price and favourable diatetic properties and “organic” origin

The concentration of different heavy metals (arsenic, copper, mercury, cadmium, lead) was investigated by ICP-OES (inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry) method in muscle and fat tissue of wild boars (Sus scrofa scrofa). The samples of 10 males and females were collected in hunting area in Közép-Dunántúl region of Hungary. Statistical evaluation of the results was performed by two-sample and paired t-test, and Wilcoxon method (R statistical program, version 3.1.3.).

The concentration of arsenic and mercury was below the limit of detection (<0.5 mg/kg) in every sample (muscle, fat) of males and females, similarly to cadmium (<0.05 mg/kg). The amount of copper was not significantly differed in the muscle of females (1.22±0.14 mg/kg) compared to males (1.06±0.16 mg/kg), and they were not above the regulated maximal levels (5 mg/kg). Same tendency was observed between the copper content of fat of both sexes (female: 0.13±0.10 mg/kg; male: 0.13±0.04 mg/kg; p=0.2707). The concentration of lead in the muscle (male: 0.22±0.06 mg/kg; female: 0.36±0.16 mg/kg) exceeded the regulated maximal levels (muscle: 0.10 mg/kg), and there was significant difference between sexes (p=0.0184). Based on our data, the consumption of tissues of the studied wild boar is objectionable from food-safety aspect and poses risk to the consumer due to the lead contents over the legal tolerable limits.

The Project is supported by the European Union and co-financed by the European Social Fund (grant agreement no. EFOP-3.6.3-VEKOP-16-2017-00005, project title: „Strengthening the scientific replacement by supporting the academic workshops and programs of students, developing a mentoring process)

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