Since Minnesota imposed restrictive measures on hunter-donated venison in the wake of the over-hyped “bullet fragment” scare a few years ago, the amount of deer meat on state-operated food shelves for those in need has plunged nearly 75 percent from 78,500 pounds in 2007 to about 20,000 pounds in 2010.
Some Minnesota legislators want to make it easier for hunters to donate venison to food shelves.
A bill that would loosen rules on donated venison got a hearing Tuesday in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources Committee.
Since the state began to regulate donated venison, the amount donated to food shelves has plunged over the past few years from 78,500 pounds in 2007 to about 20,000 pounds in 2010.
Some Republicans blame a state rule that requires all donated venison to be X-rayed to ensure it’s not contaminated with lead from bullet fragments.
Bill Ingebrigtsen authored the bill that would limit the state’s control of the venison donation program. At a hearing in the Senate Environment and Natural Resources committee Tuesday, Ingebrigtsen said meat processors are not participating in the program because of all the rules.
“My food shelf person got a hold of me and said, ‘You guys really messed up this program, and we’re really without a lot of venison opportunity here,’ ” Ingebrigtsen said.