New Zealand farmed venison comes from free-range deer raised by farmers who take pride in their sustainable farming practices and high standards of animal welfare.
It is arguably the most nutritious and healthy meat on the market.
- Lower in fat than skinless chicken
- Higher in iron than beef and lamb
- High in zinc and vitamins
- High in Omega-3 fatty acids
- No waste: cuts are sold ready for the pan
Better still, it’s easy to cook, mild-flavoured and delicious. A meat suitable for all ages.
If you are interested in buying or cooking NZ farmed venison go to www.nzvenison.com
If you are a farmer looking for information on profitable, sustainable venison production, go here >>
Most NZ farmed venison comes from red deer or red/elk crossbred deer under 2-years of age, raised on pasture. Carcase weights typically range from 55-65 kilograms.
Venison from young deer that have been farmed on free-range pastures in a low-stress environment is tender, juicy and mild in flavour.
NZ deer are not given antibiotics in their feed, hormones or other growth promotants. Nor are they feed on genetically modified pasture plants.
NZ venison is sold under many brands, as well as the unique Cervena® appellation. Cervena is NZ farmed venison that is guaranteed to come from deer aged 3-yrs of age or under, to guarantee tender eating quality.
Also, Cervena supply is independently audited to confirm that any supplementary feeds used are free of genetically modified plant material.
For more about deer farming in New Zealand, click here >>
All aspects of NZ farmed venison production meet the highest ethical standards.
The NZ farmed deer industry is a pioneer in the development of comprehensive welfare and quality standards for all aspects of livestock farming and meat processing.
For more about animal welfare, click here >>
NZ deer farmers have been championing excellence in farm sustainability since 2001.
Red meat produced in a free-range farming system and shipped to global markets has a much lower greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint than red meat raised in farming systems elsewhere in the world.
In an independent study on the GHG footprint of NZ lamb shipped to Europe, 5% of the footprint came from transport to the market. This is because refrigerated shipping is an extremely efficient way to transport goods long distances.
In contrast, 12% came from retailer and consumer activity, increasing to 19% if travel by the consumer to and from the supermarket was included. NZ farmed venison has a similar lifetime GHG profile.
For more about on-farm sustainability, click here >>
New Zealand is a parliamentary democracy with strong labour protection laws and a commitment to racial and gender equity.
In 2020 New Zealand was ranked as the world’s 'Least Corrupt Country' alongside Denmark according to the Corruption Perceptions Index of 180 countries.
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New Zealand chilled and frozen venison products are marketed around the world. In all markets NZ venison meets or exceeds the quality and hygiene standards specified by that country.
All farmed venison processed in New Zealand comes from one of 10 venison processing plants in New Zealand registered with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI).
Duncan Processors Limited, Mamaku
Silver Fern Farms, Rotorua, Bay of Plenty
Venison Packers, Feilding, Manawatu
Alliance Group, Smithfield, Canterbury
Alliance Group, Lorneville, Southland
Duncan South, Mosgiel, Otago
Mountain River Processors, Rakaia, Canterbury
Silver Fern Farms, Hokitika, Westland
Silver Fern Farms, Kennington, Southland
Silver Fern Farms, Pareora, South Canterbury
Industry agreed standards
All venison processors use an industry agreed standard (IAS) when processing deer and packing venison for shipment. This means purchasers of NZ venison can rely on getting a consistent high quality product each time they buy.
These standards are audited by Deer Industry NZ and cover:
- Humane slaughter
- Carcase trimming
- Grading standards
- Meat tenderness
- Chilling requirements
- Microbiological monitoring
- Equipment hygiene
- Packaging (product protection & preservation)
- Product temperature control
Each plant is required by MPI to comply with regulations designed to ensure the highest standards of animal welfare and food hygiene. MPI also audits processors to ensure they comply with risk management plans for specific export markets, such as the European Union, United States and China.
Farmed deer are part of New Zealand’s Animal Identification and Tracing Scheme (NAIT). All young deer have an RFID eartag placed in their ear which stays with them for life.
These tags contain an electronic chip that carries a number that is unique to that animal. While most deer live out their lives on the farm on which they were born, some deer are moved to other farms for breeding or finishing. Each movement of a farmed deer is recorded in an electronic database until the animal is processed for venison.
This enables all deer to be rapidly traced if a disease or a risk to food safety is detected on a farm or during meat processing.
Traceability extends to the marketplace. Unique codes on each product pack and carton enable venison cuts to be rapidly traced back to the plant where they were processed and from there, to the farm of origin.
This further protects consumers eating one of the healthiest meats on the planet.
Because of New Zealand’s natural pasture-based farming system, there are peaks and troughs in the supply of fresh venison. Seasonal supply is highest from October to March and lowest in winter, from April to August.
However, NZ venison marketing companies deliver premium quality chilled venison to their customers 12 months of the year. They do this by working with their farmers to time the processing of deer to meet customer demand.
For example, in the NZ spring, farmers and marketers work together to supply chilled venison for the annual northern European game season. This period is commonly known as the ‘chilled season’.
NZ farmed venison is available in many countries from a growing range of gourmet stores and supermarkets, as well as on-line. It has a strong presence in:
- New Zealand
- Northern Europe
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
If it is not stocked in your preferred store, try searching for it on the web.
Looking for recipes, nutrition information and more detailed information about venison supply? Go to www.nzvenison.com
For the commercial supply of farmed venison, contact one of the following companies. Each of them markets chilled and frozen venison, as well as deer co-products, world-wide.
Duncan New Zealand Ltd
Firstlight Foods Ltd
Mountain River Venison Ltd
Silver Fern Farms