Harvested Wildlife and Human Health

Chronic Wasting Disease Research Study Results – June 5, 2017

Based on the findings of a recent study by Canadian researchers, Alberta Health Services (AHS) has issued recommendations for handling, testing and consumption of harvested deer, elk and moose. For more details, see

Food Consumption Advisory for Wild Game in the Swan Hills Treatment Centre Area

After reviewing the results of testing PCBs and dioxins/furans in deer taken from the Swan Hills Treatment Centre area over the last 12 years, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, issued a public health notice in 2012 to revise the existing food consumption advisory in the Swan Hills area.

Albertans are advised as follows:

  • Limit eating wild game taken from within a 15 km radius of Swan Hills Treatment Centre to 150 grams (two servings) per day
  • Avoid eating organ meat (liver, kidney) or using fat from wild game harvested within a 15 km radius of the treatment centre
  • Pregnant or breast feeding women should avoid eating wild game taken from within a 15 km radius of the treatment centre
  • Young children should avoid eating wild game taken from within a 15 km radius of the treatment centre.

For more information on these food consumption advisories, please call Alberta Health Communications at (780) 427 7164. To call toll free within Alberta, dial 310-0000.

Updated health advisories are available here:

View a map of the area under advisement:

Disease in Harvested Wildlife

The majority of the fish and wildlife in Alberta are healthy and pose little risk of passing disease onto humans.

However, if you suspect there’s something unusual about the game you have harvested:

  1. Tag the carcass.
  2. Dress it out.
  3. Handle the meat so it doesn’t spoil. For unusual fish or waterfowl, freeze the entire animal.
  4. Take pictures if you can and contact the nearest Fish and Wildlife office. Staff may be able to address your concerns over the phone, or they may ask you to bring in a sample of the animal tissue.

After Handling Dead Wildlife

  • It’s always advisable to wear gloves and wash your hands after handling dead wildlife.
  • Ensure harvested fish and game are properly cooked or, if being stored, are thoroughly frozen.
  • If you experience fever, pain or swelling after handling wildlife, contact a physician.

Related Information

Check out this page on the Alberta Government website for a document entitled Wildlife and Human Health in Alberta.

Updated: Oct 18, 2023