Raccoons are okay in the woods. But their meat should never be in a store cooler, says the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.
Earlier this month, acting on a tip, DHEC health inspectors found bags of chilled raccoon meat in a cooler at a Gadsden convenience store near Eastover in lower Richland County and told the owner to get rid of them.
“This is not something we see even on a rare basis,” said DHEC spokesman Thom Berry, who in his 28 years with the agency could not recall a single time raccoon meat was found in a store cooler.
Raccoon meat is not properly certified by state and federal meat inspectors as being safe for humans to eat, Berry said.
Raccoons are known carriers of the rabies virus, though not all raccoons carry the virus.