Do-Not-Eat Advisories For Deer Taken In These Areas

  • Mad Deer Disease: Can Venison Kill You? Colorado, Wyoming On Alert | 

  • New Do Not Eat Advisory Issued For Deer In This Michigan Area |

  • Illinois Dept. of Public Health Issues Food Safety Fact Sheet for Wild Game | 

THE PATCH, LANSING, MI — Michigan officials have issued a Do Not Eat advisory for deer taken from an area on the Lake Huron shore due to contamination. This comes just a day after health officials announced that deer in the Upper Peninsula of the state were found suffering from Chronic Wasting Disease.

The Michigan departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Natural Resources (DNR) Thursday issued a ‘Do Not Eat’ advisory for deer taken within approximately five miles of Clark’s Marsh in Oscoda Township.

The advisory is due to high levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonic acid) found in a single deer taken about two miles from Clark’s Marsh, which borders the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base. PFOS is one type of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemical.

One deer out of twenty tested around the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base was found to have high levels of PFOS. PFAS was either not found or was at low levels in muscle samples from the other 19 deer.

Although only one deer of this group tested at such high levels, the advisory was issued to protect the health of anyone eating venison taken within approximately five miles of Clark’s Marsh. The state has plans to test more deer from this area.

The five-mile radius encircles the Wurtsmith base property and covers what the DNR has estimated to be the expected travel range of deer living in or near the marsh.

DNR also collected an additional 60 deer for PFAS testing this year as part of the Michigan PFAS Action Response Team’s work on this emerging contaminant. In addition to the testing around Wurtsmith, 20 deer were taken from near each of the PFAS investigation sites in Alpena, Rockford and Grayling with known contamination in lakes and rivers. Read more. 


FRANK MINITER, OUTDOOR LIFE – A fatal brain disease is spreading in deer and elk… and hunters are dying from a very similar illness.

The disease that struck the three hunters is ominously similar to another disease that’s spreading in deer and elk in Colorado and Wyoming.

This possible connection has some people pointing to deer meat and crying killer.

The accusation could prove true. The disease found in deer and elk is called Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), and it’s closely related to Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD), which is what killed the hunters.

Both CJD and CWD are classified as “transmissible spongiform encephalopathies” (TSE).

Diseases don’t always make the leap from one species to another, but there is a connection between chronic wasting disease and Creutzfeldt-Jacob that has many scientists concerned:

Another TSE-bovine spongiform chronic encephalopathy (BSE)-spread from cattle to humans in the United Kingdom, where it was dubbed “Mad Cow Disease.”

Mad Cow Disease exploded in U.K. cattle herds in the late 1980s and early ’90s. But it was not until 1996 that it was found to have crossed over to humans. Since then, 43 people are known to have died in the U.K. from Mad Cow Disease, but because of its long incubation period – possibly up to 20 years – it may yet kill many more.

The disease resulted in European bans on British beef and forced the destruction of more than half of the cattle in the U.K.

Because of the similarity, CWD has already been nicknamed “Mad Deer Disease,” but it hasn’t yet proved as sinister. In fact, another TSE called “scrapie” has afflicted sheep for at least 250 years and has never been found to cross over to humans. Still, because of Mad Cow Disease, CWD is hitting the hunting world like a horror movie monster, lurking unseen in the shadows.

Scientists, however, are on the monster’s trail. More than a dozen states and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in cooperation with the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) are pouring money and resources into a thus-far-quiet, but nevertheless massive, investigation. Read more. (Coverage continues below … )


ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH | Food Safety Fact Sheet for Wild Game – 

Large native game animals living in America include antelope, buffalo, bear, deer, elk, moose, reindeer, and wild boar.

Small game includes alligator, rabbit, squirrel, beaver, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, armadillo, and porcupine. Some common game birds include partridge, squab (young pigeon), quail, pheasant, wild ducks, wild geese, and wild turkey.

What are the pathogens that can be present in wild game meat?

  • Wild game meat may carry certain bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella.
  • Other bacterial diseases like brucellosis and tuberculosis can be carried by wild game in some areas of the United States.
  • Wild game also can carry parasites which can be passed on to humans through contact or consumption.

What are the symptoms that may result from some infections caused by eating wild game meat?

  • E.coli – The type of E.coli is called shiga toxin producing E.coli. These are foodborne bacteria that can cause severe illness. This illness also can be acquired directly from contact with the animal and its feces. Symptoms include severe diarrhea (some bloody), and painful abdominal cramps. This illness usually resolves in five to 10 days. Severe cases can lead to destruction of red blood cells (hemolytic anemia) and acute kidney failure (hemolytic uremic syndrome).
  • Salmonella – These are bacteria that cause illness by reproducing in the digestive tract. It can be acquired directly from animals or from eating their meat. Symptoms include headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, chills, fever, nausea and dehydration. Symptoms usually appear six to 72 hours after ingestion of the bacteria. Salmonellosis is seldom fatal (fatality rate is less than 1 percent).
  • Trichinellosis – People can develop trichinellosis by eating raw or undercooked meat from animals infected with the microscopic parasite Trichinella. The first symptoms of trichinellosis are gastrointestinal; usually occurring one to two days after a person consumes raw or undercooked meat from a Trichinella-infected animal. Other symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. The classic symptoms that often occur within two weeks after eating contaminated meat, and can last up to eight weeks, are muscle pain, fever, swelling of the face, weakness or fatigue, headache, chills, itchy skin or rash, cough, diarrhea, and constipation. Persons have become infected in the United States after eating bear or wild boar meat.

Persons who become ill after consuming wild game should contact their health care provider.

Prevention and Proper Cooking Guidelines

  • Hunters should not handle or consume deer or other wild animals that appear sick or act abnormally, regardless of the cause.
  • Hunters should wear gloves while field dressing and butchering. Clean water and soap are important in the field for cleaning knives and being careful not to puncture the intestines. When cooling wild game it needs to be cooled to 40 F as quickly as possible to slow the growth of the bacteria on the carcass. Wash hands thoroughly after dressing and butchering the game.
  • For immediate use, store meat in refrigerator (under 40 F) and use within two to three days.
  • Keep raw meat and cooked meat separate to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Game will keep nine to 12 months in the freezer if properly wrapped. Refrigerator-thawed meat should be used within one to two days.
  • Fresh game should reach an internal temperature of 160 F when measured with a food thermometer.
  • Whole game birds should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 F when measured with a food thermometer.
  • Freezing venison jerky for 30 days before eating will reduce or eliminate parasites in the meat.
  • Certain Trichinella species can be reduced in meat by freezing, but other species are resistant to freezing.
  • Equally important is how the animal was handled in the field. The animal should be eviscerated within an hour of harvest, and the meat refrigerated within a few hours. Meat is damaged (and sometimes ruined) if it is not dressed, transported and chilled properly.

For more information on field dressing, processing, or storing wild game, contact your local University of Illinois Extension office and ask for the pamphlets Guide to Care and Handling of Deer and Guide to Care and Handling of Game Birds.


To learn more about foodborne illness and ways to prevent it, talk to your health care professional, your local health department or the Illinois Department of Public Health, Division of Food, Drugs and Dairies.