Wild game meat production

The specific requirements for wild game meat production are set out in Annex III, Section IV of Regulation 853/2004:

The critical difference in production practice (compared to farmed animal production) is reliance on the ‘trained person’ in the field providing the necessary assurances to food producers downstream that the animals killed are considered fit for human consumption.

The Wild Game Guide (WGG) provides full information on the hygiene regulations for food businesses that supply wild game and for people who hunt wild game and supply it either in-fur or in-feather or as small quantities of wild game meat.

This guide is for:

  • those who shoot and/or supply wild game,
  • enforcement officers and
  • retailers and processors

More detailed information for each supply scenario is available in the guide.  We are currently consulting on this guidance document in so if you have any comments on the guide please send them to foodenquiries@fss.scot.

Trichinella in feral wild boar

Wild boars which are not farmed and live in the wild are classified as ‘feral’. As feral wild boar will scavenge food which might be contaminated with Trichinella, there is a possibility for these boar to also become infected. Wild boar must also be tested for Trichinella and it is the responsibility of hunters to ensure that this takes place. This guidance document provides advice on how to test feral wild boar carcasses for Trichinella.

Storage and Transport

Sampling kits and freepost, self-addressed envelopes can be ordered free of charge from the Testing Laboratory at the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), National Reference Laboratory for Trichinella and Echinococcus, Sand Hutton, York, YO41 1LZ. Alternatively:

Lead shot game

Lead can be found in wild game as a result of using lead shot or bullets. When game is processed at Approved Game Handling Establishments (AGHEs), the affected parts of the meat should be removed due to the damage caused by the shot, therefore also removing most of the lead. However, there may still be small amounts left in the meat. If AGHEs are receiving and processing lead shot game, they should consider and address this in their food safety management system.

As lead is both a physical and chemical hazard, every effort should be made to remove it from wild game meat even when processed outside of an approved establishment for private domestic consumption or supply direct to final consumers.

Read the research that was undertaken to understand consumer behaviour in relation to the consumption of lead shot wild game.

Risk of STEC in Wild Venison Report (subsection)

A recent study commissioned by FSS and Scottish Government, and led on by Moredun, exploring the risk of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli (STEC) bacteria in wild venison has now been completed.

This project had three key objectives:

  1. To map the Scottish venison industry
  2. To conduct a field survey assessing STEC prevalence in wild deer in Scotland
  3. To conduct a review of cross-contamination risks in the slaughter and processing stages of wild deer from the field to the larder

The reports key findings were that the prevalence of STEC O157 in Scottish wild deer is very low, with only 3 of 1087 samples positive for this dangerous strain of STEC. These 3 samples however, were found to contain high levels of STEC O157.

The prevalence of non O157 STEC in deer faecal samples was found to be higher but the human pathogenicity of these strains is limited.

This research also identified some key risk factors associated with increased e-coli contamination in wild venison. These include:

  • The health status of the animal, with unhealthy animals potentially posing greater risk of STEC O157 contamination (although unhealthy animals should not enter the food chain)
  • Hygiene practices in the field from the time of killing and gralloching, to transportation to the larder or AGHE, as poor hygiene practices will allow bacteria such as E. coli to transfer onto the carcass from faecal or environmental contamination
  • Maintenance of the cold chain from larder to final product. Critically, maintaining temperatures below 7°C would help to limit growth of bacteria on the carcass
  • Handling and hygiene procedures involved in further skinning, cutting and processing of the venison
  • Faecal contamination and wet and slimy carcasses

More on this topic

Publication

Campylobacter wild game project - University of Edinburgh

Project to determine the prevalence of campylobacter species in wild game pheasants processed in Approved Game Handling Establishments (AGHE) in Scotland.