Wild animals have been used as food since ancient times and, currently, the consumption of unconventional animals is increasing worldwide. The process of cooking meat using traditional recipes includes a variety of ingredients, which can influence the total metal intake from the diet. In this study, the concentrations of eight essential (Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Se, Ni, Mo, and Co) and six non-essential (Pb, Cd, Hg, Al, As, and Cr) trace elements were determined in home-processed food obtained from snails and from three common species of game animals (woodcock, pheasant, and hare), seasoned with anchovies, mushrooms, and different vegetables using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). In general, Fe was the most abundant trace element, ranging from 18 ± 8 µg/g in pheasant to 99 ± 76 µg/g in snail, and Co was the least abundant, ranging from 0.007 ± 0.003 µg/g in hare to 0.093 ± 0.048 µg/g in snail. Regarding the non-essential trace elements, Pb concentrations showed wide variations, reaching a concentration of 17.30 µg/g in hare, while Cd concentrations were higher in snail, ranging from 0.18 to 0.46 µg/g. These alternative food sources can offer an important contribution to the human nutritional requirements of essential trace elements, in particular of Fe. The high concentrations of Pb and Cd present in some samples should be considered as potentially dangerous for the consumers.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited