Meat Processor Deer/Venison Intake Protocol to Prevent the Spread of Chronic Wasting Disease

November 14, 2017

Wear rubber or latex gloves when accepting and handling deer.

Ask the following questions on incoming deer/venison/elk/moose:

  • Where was this deer/venison harvested?
  • Was the deer taken to a DNR check station?
  • Was the deer tested for CWD (it should have a yellow tag/number attached to it)?

Isolate the carcass or meat products if you receive any that have been tested for CWD.

  • Cover the carcasses with plastic bags and creating space between other carcasses.
  • Separation is preferably done on a separate rail but a separate pallet in the cooler could also be used.
  • For drop-offs that occur after hours, have an intake form available and plastic bags to cover the carcasses so they can be separated.
  • It is recommended to further identify any segregated/suspect deer carcasses in storage areas (via additional legible tag or writing on plastic covering).  Example: CWD Suspect; Hold Pending Test Results
  • Do not cut or process the carcass until it has been cleared via test results from the DNR.

If the deer comes back positive for CWD, or you receive notification that a carcass in your possession has tested positive for CWD, you have two business days to contact the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030.

Results from CWD testing are available from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources within five to seven days of sample submission at

Refuse to accept the deer and require it to go to a DNR checkpoint prior to accepting it if you suspect it was taken from a CWD core area or management zone and it does not have a tag.

  • As a processor or taxidermist, you are required to contact the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030 if you receive carcasses harvested from the DMUs 333 or 359 as well as from another state if there is no DNR CWD survey tag or negative test result accompanying the carcass, deboned meat, hide, skull, etc.

Waste created from the processing of a carcass from DMU 333 or 359 should be bagged and placed in dumpsters or receptacles to be sent directly to a regulated landfill.

Do not render, burn, compost, or place in the environment parts from deer that potentially have CWD as this could contaminate the environment or soil and spread the disease.

See additional processing protocol, including sanitizing knives, equipment and surfaces with a 50% bleach 50% water solution for one hour.

Related Topic Areas

Food Policy, Commercial Food Safety, Safe Food & Water


Jeannine Schweihofer

Jeannine Schweihofer

Jeannine Schweihofer

Michigan State University Michigan State University Close Menu button Menu and Search button Open Close