With the current crisis in the UK affecting so many parts of normal life and producing so many different questions of the population we have seen an increased awareness and demand for local game supply in some areas.
There are some great initiatives and the general public want to help- currently the advice is not to shoot unless necessary e.g. crop damage. Any game used to help others should come from the freezer supplies.
In light of this we want to ensure that those that are being so kind and considerate in their intentions are acting in a legal way and following what is set out in ‘The Wild Game Guide’ which is in accordance with the Food Standards Agency UK.
The guidance aims to explain the legal requirements that apply in the different circumstances in which wild game is supplied for human consumption either in-fur/in-feather or as wild game meat and can be accessed here – https://www.food.gov.uk/business-guidance/wild-game-guidance
Key points of the guidance
- Wild game for your own consumption or to GIVE AWAY to friends or family on an occasional basis you are not subject to any of the requirements of EU food safety legislation. This applies to ‘Private domestic consumption’. You are still responsible under the Food Safety Act if you put unsafe food into the food chain.
- Wild game and supply a small amount of in fur/feather to the FINAL CONSUMER you are required to be registered with your local authority as a food business. Small quantities is regarded as self-defining because demand for in-fur or in-feather carcases from final consumers and local retailers is limited.
- The final consumer is defined as “the ultimate consumer of a foodstuff who will not use the food as part of any food business operation or activity”.
- However, the supply of wild game meat to the final consumer or local retailers is subject to the general food law requirements and food hygiene requirements. Therefore, if you as a hunter supply game meat in this way, you will be regarded as a food business operator, and must be registered as a food business
- To protect public health, local authorities need to be able to identify those who are operating a food business, the address where the business is located and the activities that are carried out. If you need to register as a food business, you should contact the environmental health department of your local authority.
- If you supply game meat in this way you must keep traceability records and be in accordance with the general food hygiene requirements including temperature controls, HACCP and hygienic transport including chilling, both for the in-fur/in-feather game you bring from the shooting area and for delivery of meat you supply to final consumers/retailer.
Coronavirus and game meat distribution
With the pandemic impacting more and more on the production, distribution and retail availability of food, game meat can provide a valuable source of protein at a time of shortage. But what are the rules on game meat distribution to family, friends or people in need?
Taste of Game officer and chef Matt Gisby answers the most common questions:
Can I harvest a deer myself, prepare it at home and enjoy the meat with my family?
The advice is not to stalk at present. But meat from the freezer harvested legally and processed in accordance with best practice, you can do this. Although not legislation, it is advised to follow the Deer Initiative’s best practice guides.
Can I harvest pigeons, prepare the carcasses and give them to my grandparents?
The advice is not to shoot at present unless necessary for crop protection, but yes, if you use existing frozen meat supplies and give away on an occasional basis to friends and family you are acting legally.
The game is not for sale or supply to anyone else as part of a food business operation. However, you are responsible under the Food Safety Act to ensure that anything you put into the food chain is safe to eat.
Can I harvest rabbits on my permission and sell them to the local pub landlord?
The advice is not to shoot at present unless necessary for crop protection, Legally you must be registered as a food business with your local authority and the game must be supplied in accordance with traceability guidelines.
Copies of invoices and a game book or similar may be enough evidence of this. The key information that needs to be recorded is the name and address of the supplier, the customer, date, and the nature and volume of the products supplied.
As above, you must be registered as a food business to do this and be able to show clear traceability of where the meat has come from.
Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) food hygiene and safety procedures must be in place for the processing and you must keep records relating to the cooking and distribution process.
If you bought venison directly from a game dealer or butcher, you would still need to be registered as a food business in order to prepare food for the general public from home.
Registration is an online process with your local health authority.
Can I use frozen meat I harvested from deer on my permission, process them at home and then sell directly on Facebook to the public?
Again, you must be registered as a food business and ensure that you comply with temperature controls, HACCP and hygienic transport. This includes chilling, both for the in-fur/in-feather game you bring from the shooting area and for delivery of meat you supply to final consumers/retailers.
Can I give away pheasant meat in my freezer I have prepared from my local shoot to keyworkers at this time?
You must be registered as a food business to be able even to give away meat to people who are not close family and friends.
Of course, with the increasingly stringent restrictions on social contact, getting food to those outside your own household is problematic. You can deliver to people in need or charitable organisations as long as you follow sensible procedures to prevent possible transmission of infection by close contact.
The World Health Organisation says there is no evidence that food is a source or transmission agent for COVID-19. Follow normal food hygiene measures – always wash your hands and disinfect utensils and preparation surfaces when preparing food. Use sterile containers that can be disinfected by the recipient before handling.
Transport for Food
Due to the developing situation around COVID-19, the government has issued temporary relaxations to EU and GB drivers’ hours for the drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of food, pharmaceutical products and essential non-food items (personal care and household paper and cleaning).
Implementation of any relaxations will need to be agreed between employers and employees / driver representatives. Despite these changes, adequate driver fatigue risk assessments will remain essential.