Wild game and wine - sure, as long as it’s safe

What exactly is wine, what categories and quality classifications are there and what are adulterated wines? What should be borne in mind when eating raw sausage made from game meat? On the occasion of the International Green Week held in Berlin from 15 to 24 January 2016, visitors will hear the answers to these and other questions at the booth of the Federal Institute of Risk Assessment (BfR), situated in Hall 3.2 (Adventure Farm), Booth 148. "When it comes to wild game, consumers are on the safe side, if they observe the BfR hygiene tips", says BfR President Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel. "To ensure consumers can rely on what the label tells them is in the wine, the BfR is currently developing methods to expose wine adulteration", Hensel adds. The BfR booth will illustrate, for example, what sensory and analytical tests can be used to detect adulterated wines. Consumers can test whether they can sniff out bad wines simply with their nose.

The supervisory authorities of the federal states conduct official wine tests: among other things, the quantities contained in the wine of the following substances are ascertained: alcohol, glycerine, minerals, various acids, sugar and wine pigments. This official wine control does not assess the wine quality. Instead, it establishes whether the tested wine complies with the legal requirements. To ensure that the information on the label accurately reflects the contents of the wine in the bottle, this information is verified by means of chemical analysis. This requires methods capable of detecting wine adulteration resulting from non-approved production methods such as the addition of glycerine, sugar or water. It is part of the BfR’s mandate as the supreme supervisory authority for wine import control to develop new methods to detect adulterated wines. These methods largely focus on proof of authenticity such as origin, type of vine variety and detection of non-approved production processes.

Raw game meat can be contaminated with pathogens such as trichinella, salmonella or the hepatitis E virus. For this reason, handling game meat such as venison or wild pig requires special hygienic precautions and the strict observation of kitchen hygiene rules. These notably include complete heating of the meat and avoiding cross-contamination. To ensure that during cooking or heating even thick pieces of meat reach the temperatures required to kill off the germs, frozen game meat should be thawed in the fridge before it is prepared for consumption. Special care is necessary with raw sausages such as salami made from wild game. Unlike cooked and pre-cooked sausages, raw sausages are preserved through pickling, salting and / or smoking as well as curing. As a result, pathogens contained in the meat can survive the maturation process and thus pose a health risk for consumers. The BfR’s recommendation for persons with a weakened immune system, infants and pregnant woman is therefore to consume raw sausages only after they have been thoroughly heated or to refrain from their consumption altogether as a precaution.

To combat food-borne infections, the BfR develops methods for sustainable and safe food production. This includes researching zoonotic pathogens and their survival or death when using different food technology processes, their transmission and dissemination paths, and the development of diagnostic methods suitable for routine testing of foods. The BfR booth at the International Green Week 2016 presents a trichinoscope, i.e. a device used for determining the number of trichinella in meat. Visitors can test the device by engaging in fun activities. In addition, hunters receive tips on how to protect themselves from the hepatitis E virus when cutting open game.

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientific institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the Federal Government and Federal Laender on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

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