Can’t blame imports on this one: Kangaroo harvesters in Australia have been discovered not adhering to the most basic of hygiene standards, documents obtained under freedom of information show.
Investigations by the New South Wales (NSW)Food Authority have found numerous breaches of hygiene and safety rules that prevent cross-contamination of kangaroo meat, including carcasses hung from rusty hooks, lack of water and cleaning facilities, and live animals being allowed alongside dead ones.
Critics say the huge industry is still a wild west, with vast differences in the practices of different kangaroo harvesters, who hunt animals in the wild without the regulations of commercial farming operations.
But the head of the industry association has strongly rejected this claim, saying the overall rate of breaches is low and kangaroo undergoes more extensive testing for pathogens before it is sold than other meats.
Greens MP John Kaye, who obtained the information under freedom of information laws, said the potential for cross contamination in the meat meant no one could eat it without putting themselves at risk of infection.
“Poor hygiene practices have potentially devastating consequences for any food but game meat is particularly vulnerable,” he said. “No one should eat meat that was hung on rusty carcass hook, processed over a tray with old dried blood or exposed to other live animals with the risk of faecal and other contamination.”
“This so-called healthy alternative to other red meats could be riddled with pathogens.”
Five years ago Fairfax Media revealed independent testing had found dangerously high levels of salmonella and E.coli in kangaroo meat bought from supermarkets.
Daniel Ramp, a senior lecturer and director of the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology Sydney, said previously contamination levels had been found that were “way above safety standards”.