Warnings of Lead in Venison

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) -- Hunting groups say officials in Iowa, North Dakota and Minnesota are overreacting by warning that thousands of pounds of venison given to food pantries could be contaminated by lead from bullets.

North Dakota health officials on Wednesday told food pantries in the state to throw out donated venison, saying it may have lead fragments. Officials in Minnesota and Iowa followed with similar alerts, asking that donated venison in those states not be distributed.

Lawrence Keane, a vice president and lawyer for the Connecticut-based National Shooting Sports Foundation says that reaction was alarmist and not supported by any science. The foundation is a trade association for the firearms and ammunition industry.

Keane says the action has taken high quality protein out of the mouths of needy, hungry people.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says there have been no reports of lead poisoning from venison donated to its "Help Us Stop Hunger" program, but tests are being conducted to ensure the meat is safe. The agency recommends the meat not be thrown out unless tests show a health risk.

Results are expected in early April.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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