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July 8, 2011 / V A Nichols

Food bank turns down meat from geese removed from Birmingham parks

Food bank turns down meat from geese removed from Birmingham parks

Published: Tuesday, July 05, 2011, 10:15 PM
John A. Brimley -- The Birmingham News By John A. Brimley — The Birmingham News
Canada geese.JPGTwo Canada geese cruise a Birmingham area pond in this file photo. (The Birmingham News/Joe Songer)

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama — The Community Food Bank of Central Alabama rejected the donation of goose meat from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that was processed from the more than 200 Canada geese and domestic geese collected last month from East Lake, Avondale and Patton parks.

Health concerns prevented the organization from accepting the donation, Mary Michael Kelley, assistant director at the food bank, said.

Kelley said it would be unsafe to eat the meat more than twice a month.

“For us not being able to guarantee how often people are going to eat it, then we probably should err on the side of safety and not distribute it,” she said.

The geese habitat at the city parks provided the biggest risks for the food bank, as they were unsure about what the geese had ingested, such as insecticides and pesticides, Kelley said.

The food bank is a part of the Feeding America Program, which holds the standards that the food bank has to abide by.

The food bank is also a USDA commodities distributor and has to adhere to those standards, too, Kelley said.

The geese were captured and killed June 20-21 because they posed a threat to planes taking off and landing from the nearby Birmingham airport, officials said.

The majority of the food bank’s food comes from the Emergency Food Assistance Program, but other donations come from local companies.

It’s not unusual for food banks to receive donations of wild game. Food banks in Tuscaloosa and Montgomery receive donations of from Hunters Helping the Hungry Program. Birmingham’s food bank doesn’t receive much in donations from the hunters’ program because there are not that many hunting areas in the food bank’s service areas. The Hunters Helping the Hungry Program donations are subject to the same high-level health standards.

The goose meat was rejected because it posed a health risk, Kelley said.

“When people are hungry, they’re going to eat whatever they’ve got as often as they have to fill their bellies, and we didn’t want people eating meat that could potentially harm them if they ate it too frequently.”

© 2011


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