"I’ve been involved in getting moose for over 30 years from wildlife, and I have never heard of anyone ever getting sick from eating a moose burger."
So says Dave Barker, who works for the Knights of Columbus in Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland.
I hear similar sentiments all the time. It’s completely meaningless.
If someone got sick from a past practice, they would probably not accurately link it to a specific food; if they died, they wouldn’t be around to complain.
But perhaps the bureaucrats in the Canadian province of Newfoundland have gone a bit too … bureaucratic.
The provincial government recently discontinued the donation of roadkill moose meat, and charity groups say the decision strips them of a vital source of fundraising.
For decades, wildlife officers have offered charities moose killed in road collisions. The charities had butchers mince the meat into burgers, a very popular treat in the province, and held community barbecues and other events to raise money for their various causes.
"It depends on how much moose is actually destroyed in the accident, but normally you get at least two moose burger sales out of one moose, so you’re looking at anywhere from $2,500 to $3,000," said Shane Budgell, president of the Lions Club in Grand Falls-Windsor.
The government’s decision comes after the province’s auditor general flagged problems earlier this year about the department’s donations of wild game meat.
"The department did not always track where all of the meat from a particular animal was sent," John Noseworthy wrote in his annual report.
After a review, the government decided to stop donating roadkill moose meat, saying the practice would expose them to liability if any health or safety risks arose.
Moose are ruminants, and there have been outbreaks of E. coli O157:H7 associated with moose meat (it’s not just corn-fed feedlot cattle; I’m talking to you, Michael Pollan and Food Inc.).
But rather than ban the use of roadkill, why not have better training for butchers and food service types and teach them how to not cross-contaminate and use tip-sensitive thermometers to ensure the meat is prepared safely?