Nunavik health board advises people to take steps to avoid botulism

Bacterial poisoning linked to some traditional food preparations

Traditionally fermented meat, such as the walrus meat shown in this file photo, may create a risk of botulism poisoning according to Nunavik’s health board. (File photo)

By Nunatsiaq News

Nunavik residents should take precautions to avoid foodborne botulism poisoning, the Nunavik Regional Board of Health and Social Services says.

Botulism poisoning is caused by ingestion of a toxin that affects the nervous system, according to a news release from the health board.

Symptoms primarily appear in the muscles of the face and the respiratory system, and can cause weakness and various gastrointestinal problems.

“The risk of botulism poisoning is greater during the warm season and is linked to the preservation and preparation methods for some traditional foods,” the health board said.

It cited fermentation, drying and production of oil as some of the preparation methods that can lead to botulism.

In Nunavik, eating walrus, seal and beluga have been linked to poisonings.

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The health board is advising that butchered meat should be chilled below 4 C as soon as possible.

Meat that people hope to ferment should be kept in a freezer until the fall, and be fermented only when outdoor temperatures turn cooler.

Noting traditional foods are integral parts of Nunavimmiut life, the health board urged people to be cautious in their preparations.

Botulism symptoms may appear 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food, according to Health Canada.

People who are experiencing symptoms should speak to a health provider to receive proper testing and treatment.


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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by NUNAVIMIUK on

    Told , not to eat it , yet they will eat it, go figure.

  2. Posted by Jim on

    A type of bacteria called Clostridium botulinum produces the toxin that produces botulism can occur as the result of food or wound contamination. Serious stuff but I’ve heard talk of great health benefits to country food too!

    • Posted by TGC on

      (Edit: great benefits OF country food too) Botulism is know to have a psychedelic affect on the victim of said poisoning.


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