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Game meat should be thoroughly cooked before eating

44/2018, 21.12.2018

BfR publishes Opinion on the infestation of game with parasites

Meat of game living in the wild is a healthy and commonly sustainable form of speciality food that is low in fat. If it contains parasites, however, then it can make people ill if the meat has not been prepared in a hygienically flawless manner. In a health assessment, the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) has considered game species whose meat and meat products are typically consumed. Although data on consumption of game indicate that both adults and children in Germany consume game only rarely and only in small quantities - the risk of any carryover of pathogens through consumption is therefore generally low. However, consumption of game meat and raw meat products made from game (such as raw sausage) has increased in Germany in recent years. There is also a trend towards consumption of medium or rarely cooked game meat which is still pink at the core, where pathogens can remain infectious and may cause disease in humans if such meat is ingested. "Game meat and raw meat products and raw sausages made from game meat should generally only be eaten after being thoroughly cooked. This applies in particular to pregnant women and people with compromised immune status, who might be more susceptible to an infection", BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel recommends. "If properly prepared, game meat can be part of a healthy diet!"

Link to Opinion

The BfR has therefore published an opinion on the game species and specific organs respectively in which certain parasites have been detected and on the frequency of infestation occurrence. Based on the insights gained, the BfR has put together recommendations on how consumers can protect themselves against potential adverse effects when consuming game meat and game products.

On average, people enjoy one to two meals containing 200 to 400 grams of game meat each year. The meat is mainly from boar, roe deer, red deer and fallow deer. Intensive consumers of game, however, such as families of hunters and their acquaintances eat up to 60 and more meals containing game meat each year. In general there is a higher risk of infection if game meat is not prepared properly.

Parasites that can cause disease in humans such as toxoplasma (disease: toxoplasmosis), trichinella (disease: trichinellosis), sarcosporidia (disease: sarcosporidiosis), pork tapeworm (diseases: cysticercosis, taeniosis), fox tapeworm (disease: echinococcosis) or Duncker’s muscle fluke Alaria alata (possible disease: larval alariosis) may spread during the deboning and gutting of the game carcass or may be carried over to other foods when consumers are handling or processing raw game meat in the kitchen at home. In addition to being infested with parasites, the meat may also contain bacterial or viral disease pathogens.

The following BfR info sheets provide tips on handling game meat:

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.




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