Minnesota's venison donation program will continue this fall, with changes designed to prevent lead bullet fragments from contaminating meat.
"It will be different from last year, certainly, [but] we can say that the venison program will continue,'' said Heidi Kassenborg, director of the Dairy and Food Inspection Division of the state Department of Agriculture.
"There's still a lot of specifics that need to be ironed out,'' she added. Officials still are discussing potential changes to the program.
The discovery this spring of lead fragments in ground venison donated to food shelves around the state threatened to derail the program, which began last fall. State Health Department officials last spring ordered about 12,000 pounds of hunter-donated venison from food shelves destroyed.
Minnesota officials tested 1,239 samples of venison donated to food shelves last fall and found that 22 percent had evidence of lead bullet fragments, prompting a review of the venison donation program.