Around Acadiana

Feb 26, 2013 9:29 PM by Chris Welty

DHH Concerned About Venison Donations

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals may rethink its rules when it comes to venison donations to shelters.

This after the state forced a homeless shelter in Shreveport to destroy eight thousand dollars worth of deer meat. The meat came from Hunters for the Hungry, an organization that donates meat to feed the needy.

Some Acadiana shelters may soon have to consider other options than venison.

"This food that's donated provides over 30,000 meals in a year which is insane how much food that is," said Johnny Carriere, Managing Director at the Opelousas Lighthouse Shelter.

Carriere can't stomach the idea of losing the donation he receives every year from Hunters for the Hungry and doesn't know how the shelter would provide enough food for those in need.

"If you tell me today that we can't have that event next year, a lot of people would go hungry and I don't know what we would do or how we'd approach that."

The Opelousas Lighthouse Mission feeds more than 200 men a year plus other people in the community. Carriere says he's not sure he would stop serving deer meat in his shelter if the state mandated.

"Our first instinct is to say I don't know where the food is at! We don't have it stored on site."

Deer meat isn't permitted to be served in a shelter, restaurant or any public eatery in Louisiana. The Department of Health says one of the main issues is that it can't verify the meat is safe to eat. Carriere says Hunters for the Hungry and his shelter take all the necessary measures before serving food.

"95% of the food has been vacuumed packed, it's sealed. Some of the stuff that's older and you can tell it's freezer burned we discard. We get rid of meat after a certain date and everything we use is fresh, current and safe," said Carriere.

Ken Pastorick with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals released this statement to KATC:

"We are looking at potential issues in state law and regulations surrounding hunters being able to donate their game."

Officials with the Department of Agriculture and Forestry are hoping to bring the issue up when the legislature convenes next month.

Chris Welty
cwelty@katctv.com

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