Venison donation program undergoes changesby Lorna Benson, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Department of Agriculture has some new requirements for processors who want to donate venison to Minnesota food shelves.
The agency developed the guidelines after discovering lead fragments in packages of hunter-donated meat last spring.
Heidi Kassenborg, director of Dairy and Food Inspection, says processors will no longer be able to donate ground venison.
"When we looked at some of the processed venison last year from the food shelves, there's quite a significant difference between the amount of lead contamination with the ground product versus the whole cuts," Kassenborg said.
Kassenborg says more than 20 percent of the ground venison had lead contamination, while only 2 percent of the whole cuts contained lead.
"One of the key points ... is that they shouldn't accept deer that have multiple gunshot wounds, because that's going to obviously increase the amount of lead in that deer," she said.
Kassenborg says processors also will have to attend a training session on proper meat processing techniques. So far, more than 30 processors have signed up for the sessions.
That's about half the number of processors that participated in last year's venison donation program. Kassenborg says it's possible that some processors have decided it's too much work to participate.