Are you a fan of hunting and fresh venison?
While it may be a delicious and nutritious source of protein, it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with consuming deer meat.
From E. coli to Salmonella, there are several bacteria and parasites that can cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
But why does venison specifically seem to give some people diarrhea?
In this article, we’ll explore the science behind this common issue and provide tips on how to safely enjoy your next venison meal.
So grab a cup of tea and let’s dive in!
Why Does Venison Give You Diarrhea?
There are several reasons why venison may cause diarrhea in some individuals. One of the main culprits is the high amount of methionine found in game meat. Methionine is an amino acid that is essential for the body, but in large amounts, it can cause excessive gas and diarrhea.
Additionally, deer meat can be contaminated with bacteria and parasites that can cause gastrointestinal issues. E. coli and Salmonella are two common bacteria that can be found in deer meat and can cause severe diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
Another factor to consider is how the venison is prepared and cooked. If it’s not cooked thoroughly, it can still contain harmful bacteria that can cause illness. Eating raw or undercooked venison, such as in the case of venison sashimi, can also lead to foodborne illness.
Lastly, some individuals may simply be sensitive to meat in general and may experience gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming any type of meat, including venison.
The Potential Health Risks Of Consuming Venison
While venison has many health benefits, it also comes with some potential health risks. One of the most concerning risks is Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), which is a degenerative brain disease that affects a wide range of deer species. Although there is no evidence that CWD can be transmitted to humans, epidemiologists fear that it could make the interspecies jump.
Another risk associated with consuming venison is the presence of parasites. Deer are covered in parasites, both inside and outside. Trichinella is a parasite found in deer meat that can infect and harm humans, causing diarrhea, cramps, and vomiting. Additionally, deer can carry other bacterial strains that are likely to end up in deer meat, such as E. Coli and Salmonella. Proper handling and cooking methods are essential to avoid bacterial contamination.
Lastly, some individuals may experience gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming venison due to the high amount of methionine found in game meat. Methionine is an amino acid that is essential for the body but can cause excessive gas and diarrhea in large amounts.
Understanding The Science Behind Diarrhea From Venison
When it comes to understanding the science behind diarrhea from venison, it’s important to consider the different factors that can contribute to this unpleasant symptom. One of the main reasons is the high amount of methionine found in game meat, which can cause excessive gas and diarrhea in some individuals.
In addition, deer meat can also be a potential source of bacterial and parasitic contamination. E. coli and Salmonella are two common types of bacteria that can be found in venison and can cause severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, and fever.
The preparation and cooking of venison also play a crucial role in preventing diarrhea. If venison is not cooked thoroughly, it may still contain harmful bacteria that can cause illness. Eating raw or undercooked venison, such as in the case of venison sashimi, can also lead to foodborne illness.
Lastly, some individuals may simply be more sensitive to meat in general and may experience gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming any type of meat, including venison. It’s important to note that if you experience severe or persistent diarrhea after consuming venison, it’s best to seek medical attention to rule out any underlying health issues.
Factors That Increase The Risk Of Diarrhea From Venison
There are several factors that can increase the risk of diarrhea from consuming venison. Firstly, if the animal was not handled or processed properly, it can become contaminated with bacteria and parasites that can cause gastrointestinal issues. This is especially true if the animal was not properly cleaned after being hunted, as the contents of the animal’s gut can contain harmful bacteria such as E. coli.
Another factor to consider is the age and health of the animal. Older animals or those with underlying health issues may be more likely to carry harmful bacteria or parasites that can cause illness in humans.
The cooking method used for venison can also play a role in the likelihood of developing diarrhea. If the meat is not cooked thoroughly, it may still contain harmful bacteria or parasites that can cause illness. Additionally, consuming raw or undercooked venison, such as in the case of venison tartare, can increase the risk of foodborne illness.
Lastly, certain individuals may be more susceptible to developing diarrhea after consuming venison due to underlying health conditions or sensitivities to meat in general. Those with weakened immune systems or digestive issues may be more likely to experience gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming venison.
Tips For Safely Preparing And Cooking Venison To Avoid Diarrhea
If you want to enjoy venison without the risk of diarrhea, it’s important to handle and cook the meat properly. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Wear gloves: When handling raw venison, it’s important to wear gloves to avoid cross-contamination and the spread of bacteria.
2. Clean thoroughly: Make sure to thoroughly clean all surfaces and utensils used for raw meat preparation prior to use on cooked or ready-to-eat foods. This will help prevent the spread of bacteria.
3. Cook thoroughly: Venison should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 165°F as measured by a meat thermometer. Color is not a reliable indicator of doneness.
4. Marinate under refrigeration: If you plan to marinate your venison, make sure to do so under refrigeration (40°F or less). Do not reuse marinades and avoid cross-contamination by washing and rinsing all surfaces and utensils used for raw meat preparation prior to use on cooked or ready-to-eat foods.
5. Trim visible fat: The distinctive wild taste of game animals, including venison, is often associated with the fat in the animal. Trim visible fat to reduce the “gamey” flavor, and add alternative sources for moisture and flavor while cooking (butter, bacon, beef fat, sweet or sour cream, cooking oils, water, or marinades).
By following these tips, you can safely prepare and cook venison without the risk of diarrhea or other gastrointestinal issues.
What To Do If You Experience Diarrhea After Consuming Venison
If you experience diarrhea after consuming venison, it is important to stay hydrated and replace lost fluids. Drink plenty of water and electrolyte-rich fluids such as sports drinks or coconut water. Avoid drinks that contain caffeine, alcohol, or sugar, as they can make diarrhea worse.
It’s also important to rest and avoid strenuous activity until your symptoms improve. If you have a fever or severe diarrhea that lasts more than a few days, seek medical attention.
In some cases, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat any bacterial infection that may be causing your symptoms. Over-the-counter medications such as loperamide (Imodium) can help relieve diarrhea, but they should not be taken for more than two days without consulting a healthcare provider.
To prevent future bouts of diarrhea from venison consumption, make sure to cook the meat thoroughly and handle it properly. Always wash your hands before and after handling raw meat and use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw and cooked meat. Store venison in the refrigerator or freezer at the appropriate temperature to prevent bacterial growth.
Conclusion: Enjoying Venison Safely And Deliciously
Despite the potential risks associated with consuming venison, it can still be enjoyed safely and deliciously with proper preparation and cooking techniques. When purchasing venison, make sure to choose high-quality, fresh meat that has been properly refrigerated. When preparing the meat, be sure to clean and sanitize all utensils, knives, and surfaces to avoid contamination. It’s also essential to cook the venison to a safe internal temperature of at least 160°F for a minimum of 15 seconds to destroy any harmful pathogens.
To improve the taste of venison and reduce the “gamey” flavor, consider marinating the meat for several hours before cooking it. Removing the fat, connective tissue, silver skin, bone, and hair during processing can also help lessen the “gamey” taste. Additionally, make sure to properly age the meat to ensure it’s safe and tender to eat.
By taking these precautions and following proper cooking techniques, you can safely enjoy the delicious and nutritious benefits of venison without experiencing any unwanted gastrointestinal symptoms.