The potential for game meat edible by-products to contribute to food security in South Africa and risk assessment
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Heeb, A., McCrindle, C.M.E., Zárate, A.V., Ramrajh, S., Grace, D. and Siegmund-Schultze, M. 2011. The potential for game meat edible by-products to contribute to food security in South Africa and risk assessment. Paper presented at the First International Congress on Pathogens at the Human-Animal Interface (ICOPHAI), Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 15-17 September 2011.
Permanent link to cite or share this item: https://hdl.handle.net/10568/12455
Background: Game species could potentially contribute to providing nutritious animal source food for Africa’s expanding and under-nourished population. This study characterised the game meat value chain in South Africa in order to assess its potential to contributing to the nutrition of the rural poor as well as the food safety risks which might constrain this. Methods: The study included individual casual game hunters and game harvesting for specialised abattoirs. Eight expert informants (casual game hunters) were interviewed and a structured observation of a game harvesting was conducted. This was triangulated with informal interviews with stakeholders and a participatory risk assessment was conducted and critical control points identified. A group interview was conducted with a rural community to explore their demand for game edible by-products. Casual game hunters tended to be of higher socio-economic levels and several had other occupations. All were male and most hunted on privately owned land not owned by themselves. For a minority, meat was not used (trophy hunts); most commonly it was sold to butcheries and/or supermarkets. Nearly all hunters either considered the market for edible by-products limited or had no opinion. Currently they give edible byproducts to farm workers or leave for scavengers. The game harvest was conducted by professional game hunters employed by a game abattoir. Animals were shot, and throats were cut within 3 minutes; they were taken to a mobile abattoir and eviscerated within 83 minutes of shooting. Edible by-products were left behind in the field. Results: The local community interviewed considered game meat to be an acceptable food. They said they would also eat edible by-products including heads and feet of game animals if provided legally and cheaply. Meat is stored by hanging from a tree or on the roof of huts but is not kept longer than overnight. It is cooked well and the group claimed never to have fallen ill after meat consumption. Using information from game hunters and game harvesters the game value chain was mapped diagrammatically showing actual and potential pathways for edible by-products. Qualitative risk assessment identified nine areas of concern which were could give rise to hazards which could in turn give rise to risks that were likely or highly. Risk estimates varied from highly unlikely to likely. Critical control points were also identified. Summary: In conclusion, our study suggests the large game industry in South Africa could potentially supply important quantities of edible by-products to local communities. Currently this opportunity is not being utilised, but qualitative risk assessment found that the food safety risks are not excessive and could be managed. Moreover local communities are also interested in consuming these products and practice risk-mitigating measures in preparing meat. However, for this to happen innovations are needed in the processing, handling and marketing of by-products.