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April 03, 2008

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Update: Iowa Okays Food-Pantry Venison

If you’ve been following along on this one, you know that North Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa recently stopped serving donated venison at food pantries after high levels of lead were found in meat samples scanned by Dr. William Cornatzer, a Bismarck physician and hunter (see our previous news coverage ).

Now, Iowa officials have given pantries the green light to resume serving deer meat, based on additional testing. Here’s the latest, from the Globe Gazette:

Ten samples of ground venison from a food pantry were tested by the University of Iowa Hygienic Laboratory last weekend. All had less than 1 part per million of lead, eight had no detectable amounts and two had only trace amounts. . . .

“Based on the samples that were analyzed and the extensive data currently available through blood testing of Iowans by our department, no additional tests of the venison are necessary,” said Ken Sharp, director of the environmental health division of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Check out the full story. Does this allay any concerns you may have had?

Comments

jstreet

It's good to see Iowa being proactive and trying to head off any potential problems.

The programs like FHFH and HUSH do feed so many people and it's a great way to take the overabundance of deer and put it to good use.

BTW, the meat that Dr. Cornatzer tested in North Dakota was retested by the health department there and did come back positive for lead contamination. How much is there? Is it harmful to consume? How widespread is it? How did it get there?

None of these questions have been answered (to the best of my knowledge). Hopefully, this is a small isolated problem and will be solved quickly.

Jim

Brian T

Forgive me, but the good Dr Cornatzer should not have said anything in public. A sample of "one" is inexcusable to anyone with any science _research_ training. There's no time for that in medical school. If I flip a coin a single time and it lands heads-up, does that mean that all further flips will be heads? Not bl**dy likely.

Brian T

Forgive me, but the good Dr Cornatzer should not have said anything in public. A sample of "one" is inexcusable to anyone with any science _research_ training. There's no time for that in medical school. If I flip a coin a single time and it lands heads-up, does that mean that all further flips will be heads? Not bl**dy likely. Research is what you do when you realize that you cannot go on tomorrow doing things the way you are doing them today.

Joel

I respectfully disagree, Brian.
The original story says:
"Dr. William Cornatzer conducted CT scans on 100 pounds of venison collected from dozens of different sources and was shocked to find high levels of lead in about 60% of the meat."
He never said his findings were conclusive. He made them public because he had a legitimate concern for the public's health. His admittedly limited research nonetheless raised the need for more testing, and now that testing is being done--as it should be.
Also kee in mind that Iowa has a super-short gun season and a very long bow season. It may stand to reason that it would have less lead contamination compared with other states.
Point is, the testing should be done. It's now being done. And we can thank the good Dr. for that.

Joel

I respectfully disagree, Brian.
The original story says:
"Dr. William Cornatzer conducted CT scans on 100 pounds of venison collected from dozens of different sources and was shocked to find high levels of lead in about 60% of the meat."
He never said his findings were conclusive. He made them public because he had a legitimate concern for the public's health. His admittedly limited research nonetheless raised the need for more testing, and now that testing is being done--as it should be.
Also kee in mind that Iowa has a super-short gun season and a very long bow season. It may stand to reason that it would have less lead contamination compared with other states.
Point is, the testing should be done. It's now being done. And we can thank the good Dr. for that.

BigDaddyT

You can pass my deer through a CRT or metal detector or whatever and there is one place for sure on my deer where they are going to find lead. That won't stop me or my family from enjoying Iowa corn fed venison. But I do plan on having my neighbors sign a waiver the next time they stop by my place, when we grill outside this summer.

John R

Joel raised a good point about variables that should be weighed scientifically. Length of season, type of firearms permitted (what about all those muzzle loaders. Not too many solid copper bullets available for them) and etc.
A study of my state (NC) would be interesting because we have a long deer season (mid Oct. to Jan. 1st) and are permitted to use rifles, shotguns with slug or buckshot, We also enjoy a separate muzzle loader season that runs one week before the regular gun season.




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