Food Safety Considerations Related to the Consumption and Handling of Game Meat in North America

Hayden D. Hedman, Csaba Varga, Jared Duquette, Jan Novakofski, Nohra E. Mateus-Pinilla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Emerging foodborne pathogens present a threat to public health. It is now recognized that several foodborne pathogens originate from wildlife as demonstrated by recent global disease outbreaks. Zoonotic spillover events are closely related to the ubiquity of parasitic, bacterial, and viral pathogens present within human and animal populations and their surrounding environment. Foodborne diseases have economic and international trade impacts, incentivizing effective wildlife disease management. In North America, there are no food safety standards for handling and consumption of free-ranging game meat. Game meat consumption continues to rise in North America; however, this growing practice could place recreational hunters and game meat consumers at increased risk of foodborne diseases. Recreational hunters should follow effective game meat food hygiene practices from harvest to storage and consumption. Here, we provide a synthesis review that evaluates the ecological and epidemiological drivers of foodborne disease risk in North American hunter populations that are associated with the harvest and consumption of terrestrial mammal game meat. We anticipate this work could serve as a foundation of preventive measures that mitigate foodborne disease transmission between free-ranging mammalian and human populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number188
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalVeterinary Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Food safety
  • Foodborne pathogens
  • One Health
  • Wildlife disease management
  • Zoonoses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Veterinary


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