deer contaminate apples?

Asked October 19, 2016, 4:41 PM EDT

Our 3- and 5-year-old grandchildren will visit two days from now. They love to play in a playhouse that is 8 feet from an apple tree that constantly drops apples due to strong winds. Deer come often and often eat a bite or two from an apple and then drop the apple on the ground. Could those apples be contaminated in any way by the deer such that if our grand kids pick them up, the grandkids could contract any serious illness?
Also - if we dry apples that have dropped near apples that deer have chewed on, could we contract any illness? (We don't cook the apples before we put them into the dehydrator.) Thank you.

Larimer County Colorado food safety human-wildlife issues home food preparation

1 Response

Zoonotic disease between deer and people are fairly rare unless humans are impacted by insect vectors such as ticks or mosquitoes. Chronic Wasting disease is thought to be linked to Crutchfield Jacobs Disease in humans if the person eats part of the deer's nervous tissue. Investigation into Avian Influenza have not linked anything between wild ungulants and humans. Just to be safe avoid eating or processing any apples that been partially consumed by wildlife or livestock. If in doubt visit with Public Health in Fort Collins, but research shows a minimal risk.