Lead in Venison
The use of lead bullets and slugs for hunting deer may cause lead particles to remain in the meat. A deer shot several times could have much more lead in it than one harvested by a single shot. The lead can break apart if it strikes bone or other hard tissue in the deer. This fact sheet provides answers to basic questions about how to reduce exposure to lead in venison.
Is exposure to lead in venison a public health hazard?
Although there is a potential for lead particles to remain in deer meat after processing, there is little evidence that exposure at these levels is great enough to cause adverse health effects. Still, we recommend that persons who process deer meat use certain techniques to reduce the potential for lead to be present in the venison. Hunters also can use non-lead ammunition to eliminate potential lead exposure from the processed meat.
What can processors do to reduce the level of lead in venison?
Processors of venison, whether professionals or private hunters, should continue to follow these common sense procedures to reduce the level of lead in the processed meat:
Can processed venison be donated to food pantries?
Although the Illinois Department of Public Health does not regulate donated meat, food pantries and charities should only accept venison from processors who are following the recommendations of this fact sheet.
Where can I get more information?
Illinois Department of Public Health
of Public Health
535 West Jefferson Street
Springfield, Illinois 62761
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