SHREVEPORT, La. (CBS Houston) — Louisiana’s State Health Department forced a homeless shelter to destroy $8,000 worth of deer meat because it was donated from a hunter organization.
KTBS-TV reports that the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission lost 1,600 pounds of venison because the state’s Health Department doesn’t recognize Hunters for the Hungry, an organization that allows hunters to donate any extra game to charity.
“We didn’t find anything wrong with it,” Rev. Henry Martin told KTBS. “It was processed correctly, it was packaged correctly.”
The trouble began last month after the Department of Health and Hospitals received a complaint that deer meat was being served at the homeless shelter. A health inspector went out and told the homeless shelter that deer meat was not allowed to be served and that is had to be destroyed.
“Although the meat was processed at a slaughterhouse (Bellevue) that is permitted by the Louisiana Department of Agriculture to prepare and commercially distribute meat obtained from approved farms, deer are not an approved meat source to be distributed commercially,” the department said on its Facebook page. “And because hunters brought the deer to the slaughterhouse, there is no way to verify how the deer were killed, prepared or stored.”
Martin says that bleach had to be poured onto the meat in order to destroy it.
“They threw it in the dumpster and poured Clorox on it,” Martin told KTBS. “Not only are we losing out and it’s costing us money, the people that are hungry aren’t going to get as quality of food, the hunter that’s given his meat in good faith is losing out.”
“While we applaud the good intentions of the hunters who donated this meat, we must protect the people who eat at Rescue Mission, and we cannot allow a potentially serious health threat to endanger the public,” the Health Department stated.
The department says it is now working with hunters in ways to donate extra game to homeless shelters.