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


September 1, 2020

Wear rubber or latex gloves when accepting and handling deer.

Ask where all incoming deer/venison/elk/moose were harvested – Only deboned meat or a carcass that had a head submitted for testing within 24 hours of harvest can be moved outside of the CWD Core Area (Ionia, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, and Newaygo counties) or Management Zone (Calhoun, Clinton, Eaton, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Ingham, Ionia, Isabella, Jackson, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Ottawa, and Shiawassee counties).

  • Deboned meat, quarters or other parts of a cervid that do not have any part of the spinal column or head attached, antlers, antlers attached to a skull cap cleaned of all brain and muscle tissue, hides, upper canine teeth, or a finished taxidermist mount may be moved out of the area OR
  • The head is submitted at a designated DNR drop off location within 24 hours after killing the deer:
  • Was the deer head submitted for testing for CWD within 24 hours of harvest at one of the check stations (it should have a yellow tag/number attached to it) or drop boxes?

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 can contact the DNR Wildlife Disease Laboratory at 517-336-5030 for assistance with removal of the carcass.

Results from CWD testing are available from the Michigan DNR at as soon as possible, typically within 14 days of sample submission in peak firearm season.

If you are outside the CWD Core Area or Management Zone, 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 CWD Management Zone or Core Area 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 CWD Management Zone 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 percent bleach 50 percent water solution for one hour.


Tags: chronic wasting disease, commercial food safety, food policy, safe food & water

You Might Also Be Interested In

Accessibility Questions:

For questions about accessibility and/or if you need additional accommodations for a specific document, please send an email to ANR Communications & Marketing at