Hunters: Safe Handling for Venison
When temperatures rise above 41 degrees, bacteria can grow quickly in deer meat. Follow these guidelines to help avoid contamination and illness.
This page has been automatically translated from English. MSDH has not reviewed this translation and is not responsible for any inaccuracies.
Clean and cool
Dress your deer as soon as possible
during warm weather. When the air temperature
is over 41 degrees Fahrenheit, harmful bacteria capable of
causing foodborne illness grow quickly. Follow these steps to
make sure your venison stays safe to eat.
Remember, bacteria grow quickly in
Field dress the carcass immediately
Wash the body cavity with cold, clean
water if possible. Carry a clean towel to
wipe your hands and prevent cross
Place the heart and liver in a food-grade
plastic bag if you wish to keep them.
Spread the rib cage to cool the carcass
more quickly. If the air temperature is
over 41 F, consider packing the carcass
with clean ice.
Refrigerate the carcass as soon as possible.
Use food quality plastic bags or buckets
to store cut meats. Do not use dark-colored garbage bags; they may contain
toxic resins and are not intended for
Do not leave venison or other wild game
in a car trunk where warmer temperatures
promote bacterial growth.
Use a cooler filled with ice or dry ice to
store cut meat.
Process venison as soon as possible. Venison will spoil if it hangs
without refrigeration in warm weather.
Selecting a processor
A good meat processor or butcher will:
Accept only fresh-appearing
venison in food quality containers.
Store and process venison
separately from other meat and
Include your name, cut of meat
and the statement "NOT FOR
SALE" on each package.
Store carcasses in a cold, clean
Hang the carcass rather than throw
it on the floor.
Have a clean processing area free
of insects and rodents.
Keep doors and windows closed.
Practice safe food handling
techniques (clean aprons, no
smoking or chewing tobacco while
handling food or in the food
Handle your venison in the manner
you'd expect for all foods.
Keep it cool
To keep your venison fresh, observe
the following guidelines.
Keep uncooked venison frozen.
Keep thawed venison
refrigerated at 41 degrees or lower.
Thaw uncooked venison in the
microwave or refrigerator. Do not
leave packages on the countertop
Make sure juices from uncooked
venison do not touch other foods,
especially those that are ready to eat,
as this can cause cross-contamination.
Always wash your hands with hot,
soapy water before touching food.
Use clean plates, cooking pans and
serving utensils to cook and serve
venison. Do not put cooked foods
on plates that have held uncooked
Refrigerate leftovers promptly.
Cut cooked meat in smaller pieces
and refrigerate separately to allow
meat to cool quickly.
|Adapted from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture|
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Last reviewed on Jul 9, 2019