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Home > Licensing, Inspections, Certifications & Testing > Dairy, Meat, Poultry & Egg Inspection > Meat, Poultry & Egg Inspection > Hunter Harvested Venison Donation Program > Processor Participation Requirements

Processor Participation Requirements - 2009 Venison Donation Program


Meat processors wishing to participate in the venison donation program must register with MDA prior to accepting any deer for donation. To be eligible for the program, the processor must:

  1. Register each year by completing a program registration form
    1. Note: previous year's registrations will not carry over into subsequent years.
    2. Each processor must register and be approved for participation prior to accepting any donations.
  2. Hold a valid food handler's license and be in good standing with that license.
  3. Ensure that all processing for the venison donation program occurs at the licensed facility – not at another unlicensed location.
  4. Attend a venison donation program and processing procedures workshop.*
  5. Certify that they are willing to follow venison donation program procedures in return for receiving reimbursement for deer processed through the program.

Documentation and Reimbursement

Once registered, the processors will receive copies of the appropriate forms to complete as they receive carcasses and process donations. Processors are eligible to receive $70 per deer processed for donation. Proper documentation must be submitted to MDA to receive reimbursement.

Proper Documentation includes the following:

  1. Completed copies of the Minnesota Deer Donation Log.
    1. All information requested on the log must be completed in order to receive reimbursement.
  2. Hunter completed "Donation of Protected Species Form" – Only one form per hunter is necessary.
  3. Receipt from Charitable Organization for Archery Donations – Archery harvested venison may be donated directly to the food shelf without being held for x-raying. The Charitable Organization must provide a receipt for this product.

Accepting, Processing and Labeling Donated Product
Eligibility of deer for donation

  1. All donated deer must be intact with the hide on. The following deer are eligible for donation through the donation program:
    1. Legally obtained hunter harvested deer from Minnesota can be donated. Processor reimbursements will only be given for deer harvested by licensed hunters.
    2. Deer harvested with nuisance or depredation permits, or by DNR and other authorized sharpshooters are eligible for donation; however, processors will not receive reimbursement through this program for these processing costs.
  2. The following deer are not eligible for donation through the donation program:
    1. Deer that have been mishandled, are in bad condition or have extensive damage from ammunition. The locations and numbers of the hunting wounds may also cause significant damage and contamination of the carcasses rendering it unsuitable for donation.
    2. Processors may accept donations of part of a carcass, but they will not be eligible to receive reimbursement of the processing costs for this product. Reimbursement will only be made for whole carcasses processed for donation.
    3. Donated venison may be processed into whole cuts of meat – steaks, chops, roasts, and stew meat or as ground product.

Approved Venison Products for Donation

  1. The following venison products are allowed to be donated:
    1. "Not ground" product: Whole muscle cuts including roasts, chops, steaks, and stew meat.
    2. "Ground" product: This product type was not permitted in 2008 but has been returned to the list of approved products.
    3. All products must be frozen prior to pick-up for testing or transfer to an approved storage facility.
  2. The following venison products are not allowed to be donated:
    1. The venison cannot be mixed with meat from another animal species.
    2. No mixing of meat from non-donated carcasses is allowed.
    3. No sausage products or other multi-ingredient products containing beef, pork or other meat products can be donated.

Packaging & Labeling of Donated Product

  1. All product must be adequately packaged to protect product.
    1. Approve packaging materials included but are not limited to:

      1. Butcher paper - use sufficient paper to adequately wrap the product to minimize exposed product or leaking packages.
      2. Plastic bags with closures
      3. Vacuum packaging
  2. All product donated through the venison donation program must be labeled properly to be eligible for reimbursement. All packages of products must be identified with the following items: Failure to properly label product could result in termination from the program.
    1. "Hunted venison, for food donation only"
    2. Plant identification number or plant name (official plant number, custom processing permit number, or license number)
    3. Date of processing
    4. "Not for sale"

Note: Each individual package must be appropriately labeled. Labeling of only the outside box or container is not permitted.

Holding Venison for Testing

  1. All Firearm harvested venison products must be held by the firm until x-ray scanning is completed.
  2. All Firearm harvested product donated through the State of Minnesota Venison Donation Program will be x-ray. Any package(s) found to contain lead will be disposed. Product will be returned to the local food bank for distribution to designated food shelf.
  3. Prior to x-ray scanning, product may be transferred and held at local food banks or other designated holding locations if freezer space is a concern. The product should be marked "Hold for Testing".
  4. Venison that is harvested by Archery will NOT be required to be held or x-rayed.

Enforcement of Program Requirements

  1. Receiving reimbursement for deer processed will be dependent on the processor following program requirements. The following situations may be cause for denial of reimbursement claims:
    1. Incomplete or inaccurate reimbursement forms
    2. Improperly labeling products
    3. Other failure to follow program requirements
    4. Failure to obtain a receipt from charitable organization for venison harvested by archery.
    5. Failure to submit venison for x-ray testing that was harvested by firearms.
  2. Limitations for future participation in the venison donation program
    1. The failure to follow program requirements will be considered when assessing potential program registrants in subsequent years. This may be cause for denial of future registration for a processor in some situations.
    2. Contaminated products: Processors found to have significant problems with contaminants (including lead) in donated products may be determined not to be eligible for participation in the program in subsequent years.

*If a firm attended the educational training session in 2008 they have met the requirement.

MDA Contact

Dairy & Food Inspection Division