CWD Report - 12/18

CDFW - Handling legally imported meat/tissue from a CWD-positive animal harvested out-of-state

Kari Lewis, Chief

Wildlife Branch

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has never been detected in deer or elk from California. However, Californians hunting out-of-state may legally harvest and import quarters or meat from an animal (deer, elk, moose) that is CWD-positive. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that meat from a CWD-positive animal not be consumed. The Wildlife Investigations Lab (WIL) recommends that all potentially CWD-contaminated tissues, including meat, be incinerated at one of the California Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) Laboratories under contract with the WIL.

Hunters have been advised to report any import or receipt of CWD-positive meat/tissues to their local Fish and Wildlife Office. The WIL requests the following information from each report:

  • Hunter’s name, phone # and address.
  • Where (City, County, State), when, and species harvested.
  • Where it was tested for CWD.
  • What parts were brought into CA.
  • Were any parts taken to a Meat Processor or Taxidermist in California
  • What is the approximate weight to be destroyed.

Two options to facilitate safe transport of these tissues to a CAHFS lab for incineration:

  1. The hunter can take bagged meat/tissues to a CAHFS facility themselves. A day and time should be arranged, and WIL must be informed to provide a CAHFS submission form.
  2. Regions (e.g. Unit Biologist for the hunter’s County of residence) can coordinate a CDFW employee (biologist, sci-aid, warden) or Natural Resource Volunteer to transport bagged meat to CAHFS. A submission form provided by the WIL must accompany the meat.

CAHFS, Davis 620 W. Health Sciences Dr Davis, CA 95616 Gen. Info: (530) 752-8700 FAX (530) 752-6253

CAHFS, Turlock 1550 N. Soderquist Turlock, CA 95381 Gen. Info: (209) 634–5837 FAX (209) 667–4261

CAHFS, Tulare 18830 Road 112 Tulare, CA 93274 Gen. Info: (559) 688-7543 FAX (559) 686-4231

CAHFS, San Bernardino 105 West Central Avenue San Bernardino, CA 92408 Gen. Info: (909) 383-4287 FAX (909) 884-5980

If there are any questions, please contact Dr. Brandon Munk,, 916-261-2124; Nicholas Shirkey, , 916-358-1465; or Tina Moran, , 916-358-2970 at the Wildlife Investigations Laboratory.

Brad Burkholder

CWD Updates


As a follow up to discussion we had at the last Big Game Advisory Committee meeting, I wanted to share some recent developments on the CWD front. First, we wanted to thank those of you that really stepped up the messaging regarding the importance of doing everything we can to keep CWD out of California and our neighboring states. Your help in emphasizing the importance and critical need for extreme diligence of all of our hunters to comply is greatly appreciated.

What I wanted to share with you all are some recently developed guidelines for handling legally imported meat/tissue from CWD-positive animals harvested out-of-state. As you can imagine, it is not an unreasonable scenario for an individual to hunt out of state, submit a sample to that state for testing, and transport the quarters or processed meat home before receiving test results. Once home, their meat could be packaged and in the freezer or perhaps being processed by a local meat locker. As surveillance and testing has been ramped up in many states, it was time for us to develop some guidance for Californians on what to do in the event that legally imported meat was found to be CWD-positive. Please see the attached memo regarding information we are providing to California hunters. Additional information on CWD can also be found on our webpage for those that may not be aware of it.

Thanks again for all of your support and help on this very important issue. We wanted you to be aware of these recent development and ask you again for any assistance you can provide to help get this information. Your continued assistance with outreach and messaging to help minimize the potential spread of CWD is greatly appreciated. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thanks, Brad