Know what suppliers do for food safety; poaching on the rise in UK

Last Thursday I spent my morning with some really passionate folks who run emergency food agencies like church food pantries, soup kitchens and transitional homes. These agencies do really important work to help folks in need – especially those who can’t access food.

During the workshop we talked about the risks of receiving food donations from people who want to help but may not be great at food safety. Knowing your suppliers and what they do to address hazards (whether they are commercial producers, well-meaning amateurs, or poachers) is good food safety management.MDH_Deer_4031490_860x466

According to the Western Gazette, meat from poachers in the UK is making it’s way to dinner tables.

Police have asked residents to be on the lookout for meat acquired through illegal poaching and have warned that eating such meat can result in diseases such as Tuberculosis and E.coli.

In an effort to curb illegal poaching, police have joined forces with a number of agencies including South Somerset District Council to combat poaching in the region head on.

The South West Anti-Poaching Group now has agencies working hard together to share information and identify those catch poaching.

The group’s Stop Poaching campaign encourages the public to report poaching and report where the meat is going, where it is being butchered and where it is being sold.

Portfolio holder for environmental health at the district council Carol Goodall said: “The last few years have shown that poaching is not about the lone rural rouge taking one for his larder, there are those who are taking deer, fish and livestock which inevitably end up in the food chain be it via restaurants, hotels or via a meat supplier.

Summer sausage is tasty, maggots and all

I grew up in a deer hunting family, and although my own deer hunting career started and ended when I was 13, I was so used to eating venison that beef tasted weird. I still remember one deer my family butchered at home, and my brother chased me around the house with an eyeball. We packaged and marked the cuts, but they stayed in our family freezer. Perhaps we had some guests over for dinner or gave some to a friend at church, but if anyone got sick, it was us.

In Omaha, apparently, things are run differently. Deer processor and poacher extraordinaire Jack McClanahan was finally put out of the summer sausage business.

According to the Omaha World-Herald McClanahan processed and sold tons of tainted summer sausage, much of it from poached deer. McClanahan told federal undercover agents that he sometimes shot deer at night with a rifle from the bathroom window of his home in Omaha’s Ponca Hills and then would retrieve the carcasses in the morning. He baited the deer with corn, used a spotlight to blind them, and then shot.

McClanahan is a retired butcher who sold summer sausage in 5-pound casings at $3.50 a pound. He also made salami, jerky and snack sticks, and authorities estimated annual production at about 10,000 pounds.

Mark Webb, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service special agent, said mouse droppings, maggots, deer carcasses, dried blood, deer hair and other contaminants littered the commercial-grade meat processing equipment that filled McClanahan’s three-car garage. There was no running water for cleaning. When wildlife agents seized the equipment and cleaned it with hot water and soap at a carwash, they discovered two lead bullets the size of a man’s thumb lodged in the grinder. The blade had been shaving lead into the meat.

The butcher-poacher was fined $10,000 and sentenced to three years of probation Wednesday in U.S. District Court.

My family and most deer hunters I have known have a strong conservationist ethic. I was raised to respect wildlife and have a deep appreciation for nature. McClanahan, and other poachers, are appalling, but making humans sick and putting their lives at risk with filthy processing conditions is even more disgusting.