23 November 1999

Where's the beef?

by Kate Melville

While some of America's 10 million hunters will be hunting for deer this year, few will be successful and even fewer will eat their victims. This is not a good thing according to Maria Beierschmitt, a food science graduate student. Ms Beierschmitt has just completed a research project that she hopes will eventually put venison (already considered a healthy red meat), next to beef, pork and chicken in butchers' windows.

"Though a lot of people consume venison, it has never been studied in the United States. Fundamental meat science properties, such as acidity, were unknown," Ms Beierschmitt said. "We knew that only by learning the properties of venison could we even begin to conceptualize the commercialization of the product."

Perhaps the US is just behind the times in agricultural marketing as New Zealand has had commercial deer farms for more than 20 years (not to mention that it has been considered a delicacy in most European countries for several centuries).

In what can only be described as weird humor Ms Beierschmitt is quoted as saying ,"In Europe, venison is considered gourmet food fit for royalty, but in the United States, it is considered roadkill".

If this is how she proposes to promote the consumption of venison then we doubt cattle farmers will loose much sleep.