MN 2012: donated lead poisoning

Here's a rough timeline of discussions in the MN Legislature regarding the donation of hunter-harvested venison, and the poisoning of children by lead-ammunition fragments in venison.

A few MN Legislators actually attempted to exempt donated venison from Minnesota's food-safety laws in order to allow the Minnesota venison-donation program to continue unchanged (and therefore to continue poisoning unsuspecting mothers and their children with lead-ammunition fragments). A few others wanted to eliminate the Minnesota venison-donation program (for various reasons including the complications of funding the program through voluntary donations associated with deer-hunting licenses).

2/8/2012: MN Senators Bill Ingebrigtsen and Paul Gazelka, and MN Rep. Dan Fabian introduce a bill (SF 1706 / HF 2351) to exempt hunter-harvested venison from Minnesota food-safety regulations.

3/6/2012: MN Senate Committee hears expert scientific testimony from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture and others on the hazards of lead in venison.

MN Senate Committee on Environment & Natural Resources, evening session (Senate Media Services lost its recording of this session).

Despite expert testimony to the contrary, the Committee includes the exemption in the 2012 MN Senate Game & Fish Bill SF 1943 (later to be identified as HF 2171).

4/23/2012: in a MN Senate floor session, Sen. Rod Skoe raises awareness of the dangers of toxic ammunition and lead poisoning from wild game, and introduces an amendment to correct the error on that subject in Game & Fish Bill HF 2171.

Sen. Skoe's good amendment passes on a voice vote, thus allowing the Minnesota venison-donation program to continue with deer taken using non-toxic ammunition.

As amended, the Game & Fish Bill HF 2171 passes on a roll-call vote.

4/27/2012: the MN House/Senate Conference Committee (to resolve differences in their versions of the Game & Fish Bill HF 2171) not only deletes the donated-venison exemption from food-safety regulations, but goes on to eliminate the Minnesota venison-donation program. The bill passes on 4/28/2012 and is signed by the Governor on 5/3/2012.

Coverage of this issue in the news:

House clueless on outdoors issues. Star Tribune 4/6/2012 by Dennis Anderson: "Rep. Tom Hackbarth, R-Cedar, has been quick to alert poor people and other unfortunates that while uninspected venison they might encounter at food shelves this fall could contain chunks of lead bullets, it's their choice whether to feed the potentially toxic meat to their kids -- or whether instead to let the little ones go hungry."