Most people associate trichinellosis with eating raw or undercooked pork. However, in recent years, more cases have been associated with the consumption of raw or undercooked wild game meat (such as bears) than with the consumption of domestic pork products. Trichinella parasites can infect a wide variety of animals around the world. Have you ever wondered why pork is rarely eaten less than “done right”? One reason is the parasitic worm, Trichinella, which can be found in pork and wild game meat (from wild animals), such as bear and wild boar meat.
While this parasite was very common in the past and represented a major problem for food safety, trichinella is now extremely rare thanks to advances in food safety and agricultural practices. However, consumers may continue to be at significant risk of exposure to Trichinella if they consume pork that is not properly produced or wild game meat abroad. Also note that parasites and tapeworms are often present in wild game. A common parasite is Toxoplasma gondii, the cause of the disease toxoplasmosis.
Symptoms of illnesses caused by the consumption of parasites can range from mild discomfort to serious illness and possibly death. In addition, eating raw or undercooked wild game meat can cause several other diseases, such as Salmonella and E. Because wild game is more active, it may be less tender and the fat may have an unpleasant taste, which you may want to remove before storing or using it. While some diseases caused by eating wild game meat may only cause mild symptoms that go away on their own, others may be more serious.
According to the World Organization for Animal Health, most cases of trichinellosis are related to the consumption of undercooked wild game meat, especially bears and wild boars, or pigs from backyard farms fed with food waste contaminated with trichinella. As the shooting deer season begins in Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) wants to remind hunters and anyone who serves or eats game or wild birds to use safety measures. If you suspect that deer is unhealthy, check with your local game warden or commercial venison processor to determine if the meat is safe for consumption. Proper dressing for wild game, such as deer, is the first step in reducing the risk of foodborne diseases caused by pathogens such as E.
coli, for example, which is found in the intestines of wild game and can easily be transferred to meat during slaughter. People who become ill days or weeks after eating wild game meat should contact their healthcare provider and let them know that they have recently eaten wild game. Evidence suggests that the potential for contracting the disease through venison is probably the same as that of domestic meat. Toxoplasmosis, a single-celled parasite found in many meats, can occur in South Carolina deer, but deer aren't the only source of the disease, according to a deer biologist from the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR).
Hunters are advised to freeze venison and all meat before cooking, because freezing kills most parasites. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that “hunters should avoid eating deer and elk meat that appears to be sick or that tests positive for chronic wasting.”. You may decide that the easiest and safest way to address the food safety issues mentioned above is to have the deer commercially processed in a licensed meat processing plant. .