The pheasant shooting season resumed this week, meaning that rural areas like the Borders are now spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out on game.
Whether it’s pheasant, grouse or venison, the area has come into its own as ‘Scotland’s larder’.
Tim Bonner, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, said this week: “There are real health benefits to eating game. Pheasant and partridge contain a high level of iron, protein and vitamin B6 and venison contains higher levels of iron than any other red meat . The fact that game is also a wild, free-range alternative to farmed meat, just adds to its attraction, and its popularity just keeps increasing.”
One word of warning came this week, however, with the news of confirmed cases of E.coli in Scotland.
Health Protection Scotland is investigating nine confirmed cases. HPS said: “These cases have all consumed various venison products including venison sausages, grill steaks,steaks and meatballs which were raw when purchased and cooked at home.
“Initial investigations have established that a number of these case have consumed various venison products purchased raw from various shopping outlets and cooked at home, however, investigations are ongoing. These products include venison sausages, steaks and meatballs.
“We will continue to work with Food Standards Scotland and local Health Protection teams to investigate the circumstances of these cases.”
Dr. Syed Ahmed, Consultant in Health Protection/Clinical Director, Health Protection Scotland said: “It is important that all deer meat should be cooked thoroughly and should not be eaten medium or rare. The risk of E. coli O157 infection can be reduced by careful hand washing.”