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July 14, 2008

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Discussion Topic: Minnesota Resumes Venison Donation Program

The latest in the lead-in-venison story will have Minnesota’s needy eating steaks instead of burger.

From the Pioneer Press:

Minnesota will resume its food-shelf venison donation program this fall, but with new practices to offset health concerns over lead particles found in the meat.

People familiar with the new program say the changes likely will mean lead advisories for food-shelf users and switching from ground venison to whole cuts of meat.

That is because 26 percent of the tested food-shelf ground venison showed particles of lead, while only 2 percent of tested whole cuts, such as chops, steaks and roasts, showed lead particles. . . .

While some hunters remain skeptical of the health threat from lead in venison, [Mark] Johnson, [executive director of the Grand Rapids-based Minnesota Deer Hunters Association] said the discovery has meant a healthy examination of hunting practices and food safety.

"It's good it came out," he said. "Any time we can make our sport better, keep it safer and make the venison better, that's a good thing."

Do you agree. And is resuming the program the right decision?



Obviously the state feels it's the thing to do and it also keeps the venison program going AND that means healthy meals for people who otherwise might not have them.

Before it's all said and done, lead free projectiles are going to be the law of the land.

Waterfowlers got used to it, upland hunters are getting used to it and big game hunters will probably have to as well.



It's a good call on their part. It's good, healthy meat for folks who need it.

You can't fault any state government for taking safety precautions, but they need to be reasonable and based on more than the panicked cries of an avowedly anti-lead organization (the Peregrine Fund). This, switching to whole cuts instead of ground meat, is a reasonable compromise for now.

Jackson Landers

They did the right thing all around. I hope that word gets out about this and that hunters and meat processors start changing the way that they butcher meat in order to reduce the percentage of lead particles that wind up in the ground meat.

What's causing this exactly? Are processors failing to discard the meat from the wound channel? Like if it's part of a steak or roast, they carve it away because it looks bad, but those bloodshot bits are still getting put into the grinder with the edible scrap?

I'd like to see this study continue by getting a processor to diligently discard all of the meat from the wound channels and then conduct new tests of the ground meat. See if that fixes it.

Personally, I'll be paying more attention to bullet performance and the issue of retained bullet weight.

Mark, SE MN

How did all of this lead get into the meat, i feel that the butcher shops should take more time trimming an animal out.

As jackson said why wasn't the wound chanel discarded. that is were most of the lead is from.
They shouldnt put something in there that they wouldnt presonally eat

It was a good catch by the state, this could have been a lot worse.

Philip Brown B.Sc.

This controversy is strong support for the contention that the US is a 'state of paranoia'! For normal adults metallic lead presents a very small health risk. Even for children the risk of metallic lead is small, provided they have a diet containing sufficient calcium.

I note that in none of the items about this does anyone actually say what the lead content of the meat was. Nor do they say what method was used to test. Lead is detectable to nanogram levels (i.e. negligible) by some techniques.

The authorities had to cover their proctal regions but the rest of the community should take a deep breath and ask to see the evidence, as opposed to the pontification.


Waterfowl hunter numbers have declined enormously. Could it be that it is too hard to hit things with steel and too expensive to shoot high density? Could the large numbers of Canada geese have anything to do with the fact you have to be within 10 feet to bring one down with steel shot. Not to mention you have to use very powerful shotguns to throw these uncapable steel loads, which means teaching youths is really out of the question.

The lead shot ban has not been, "accepted." It has been rejected, and hunter numbers show it. Something not talked about enough.

You can't find lead with an x-ray, this whole thing has been a red herring by anti-lead ammo advocates. I'm just shocked health professionals and hunters go along with it.

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