Food magazine reported recently that the kangaroo meat industry in Australia is in decline due to food safety concerns. Over the past 10 years, an average of 3 million kangaroos per year has been killed to produce meat and leather products.
Russia accounted for 70% of all exports until 2009 when a ban was enforced due to high levels of e.Coli and Salmonella reportedly being discovered in kangaroo meat products. The Government has spent more than $400,000 to alleviate these concerns but the ban remains in place due to concerns about food safety.
Sportswear company Adidas who purchased large amounts of kangaroo leather have also turned their backs on the industry, citing concerns for young animals left abandoned from the commercial kill.
Quotas are currently in place limiting the number of kangaroos that may be killed commercially each year, but concerns are in place that if the industry is no longer commercially viable that farmers and other landowners may be tempted to start killing the animals themselves as they can be seen as pests and cause destruction to the land.
Is Kangaroo Meat A Food Safety Risk?
A Lateline report for the ABC in August indicated that conditions have not improved much since Russia banned the products a few years ago– something which is very much disputed by the Kangaroo Industry Association and other industry advocates.
Kangaroo meat is harvested (i.e. taken from the wild) and not farmed. At the Australian Institute of Food Safety, we recommend that kangaroo meat is always cooked thoroughly before eating and should never be eaten raw.