The Central Pennsylvania Food Bank will not accept venison donations this year because of concerns over chronic wasting disease.
The donations came from Hunters Sharing the Harvest and amounted to 20,000 pounds of meat last year. The program “coordinates the processing and distribution of donated wild game from hunters and municipal herd reduction sources to hungry people throughout Pennsylvania.”
Joe Arthur, executive director, said venison is only a small amount of the protein the Food Bank distributes.
The food bank is a hub for distributing food products to more than 1,000 local agencies in 27 counties in central Pennsylvania, including Blair, Bedford, Huntingdon, Centre and Clearfield counties. Cambria County is served by the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.
“We’ve had extra stock of meat through the USDA trade mitigation program,” he said. “We are receiving an abundance of meat products through that, so we’re well-supplied for this season,” adding that the Food Bank was still grateful to enjoy long-term relationships with the processors and butchers who have made venison donations possible.
The Food Bank made the decision last week based on information provided through various awareness and educational efforts by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
Arthur explained that the “trigger” was seeing the expansion of the three disease management areas for CWD in 2019, which now covers area in over half of the 27 counties to which the…