Food safety for hunters
Find out about the food safety risks associated with wild game and game birds, and how you can minimise those risks and make safe decisions about the wild food you catch, store and eat.
Ensure your catch is safe
If you catch game, it's your responsibility to ensure the game is safe to eat for you and anyone you share it with. Wild game and game birds are not subject to the same kinds of regulatory controls as commercial meat.
Wild animals may have bacterial or chemical contamination. Meat can also become contaminated if it is not properly looked after in the field and at home.
Wild game like pig or duck may be at risk from microbiological contamination (if the animal is sick, has wounds, or the meat is improperly handled) and chemical contamination (if the animal has consumed poison like 1080).
Always hunt in safe areas, take only healthy carcasses, and store and transport meat safely.
Find out more
- Download the guide Food Safety for Hunters [PDF, 1.1 MB]
The guide includes information on how to identify if an animal is free of disease and poison and is fit to eat, and how to safely butcher and transport animals.
- Read about poison residues in food animals
Watch wild food safety DVDs
MPI has produced videos to show hunters and gatherers how to safely catch, store and eat wild foods. Watch:
- Wild food safety: hunting - YouTube
- Wild food safety: game birds - YouTube
- Wild food safety: seafood - YouTube
Butchering your catch
Some hunters prefer to have someone else butcher their game for them. 'Homekill and recreational catch service providers' are butchers listed by MPI who cut up and process wild game for recreational hunters.
Taking trophies and hides overseas
If you want to take your trophy or hide out of New Zealand, you need to meet New Zealand's export requirements, and the import requirements of the destination country.
Hunting in restricted areas
Check that your hunting area isn't restricted. MPI restricts commercial hunting in areas where the chance of contamination from poison residues is too high.
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