The increasing amount of hunted and homekill meat being offered for sale illegally over social media is causing concern in Ruapehu.

Phoebe Harrison, environmental health officer for Ruapehu District Council, referred to a recent case of a Waikato family falling gravely ill after eating wild boar.

She said the meat was suspected to be contaminated with the potentially fatal botulism toxin.

"This highlights the dangers in eating meat that had not been prepared properly.

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"Because of the health and safety risks involved, the penalties for people selling illegal meat are quite severe," she said.

With Christmas coming up and people getting together for extended family gatherings, the council was keen to keep people safe and well.

"In the Waikato case three members of one whanau were left paralysed and unconscious after eating suspect meat."

She said while both homekill and hunted meats could be shared with family, friends and visitors, it could not be sold, bartered, raffled or donated.

"Both homekill and hunted meats can also be served on a marae for traditional activities within the iwi or hapu but commercial operations on a marae must use commercially processed meat."

"People involved in this practice should take note that the Ministry for Primary Industries and council officers monitor social media and other channels for this."

Ms Harrison said the ministry had a range of educational material on home and hunt killed meat around food safety which could be downloaded from its website — mpi.govt.nz — or picked up from council offices.

Anyone with questions about the practice was welcome to call the council's environmental health team, she said.