Environment and Contaminants in Traditional Food Systems of Northern Indigenous Peoples

Centre for Indigenous Peoples' Nutrition and Environment (CINE) and School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, Macdonald Campus of McGill University, Sainte Anne de Bellevue, Quebec H9X3V9, Canada.
Annual Review of Nutrition (Impact Factor: 8.36). 02/2000; 20(1):595-626. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.nutr.20.1.595
Source: PubMed


Traditional food resources of indigenous peoples are now recognized as containing a variety of environmental contaminants which reach food species through local or long-range transport avenues. In this chapter we review the published reports of contaminants contained in traditional food in northern North America and Europe as organochlorines, heavy metals, and radionuclides. Usually, multiple contaminants are contained in the same food species. Measurement of dietary exposure to these environmental contaminants is reviewed, as are major issues of risk assessment, evaluation, and management. The dilemma faced by indigenous peoples in weighing the multiple nutritional and socioeconomic benefits of traditional food use against risk of contaminants in culturally important food resources is described.

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Available from: Harriet V Kuhnlein, Jun 28, 2014
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    • "Many remote and indigenous populations harvest marine predators for economic, cultural, and subsistence reasons (Dehn et al., 2006; Diamond, 1987; Kuhnlein and Chan, 2000; Merkel and Barry, 2008; Skira et al., 1985). Globally, there are few regulated harvests of marine birds, and those that remain unregulated are generally declining in popularity (Gaston and Robertson, 2010; Richardson, 1984; Skira, 1990) or are stable (Newman et al., 2009; Olsen and Nørrevang, 2005). "
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    ABSTRACT: Common (Uria aalge) and Thick-billed Murres (Uria lomvia) are apex predators in the North Atlantic Ocean, and are also subject to a traditional hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador during the winter months, along with small numbers of illegally harvested Razorbills (Alca torda). Because of their high trophic position, auks are at risk from high contaminant burdens that bioaccumulate and biomagnify, and could therefore pose a toxicological risk to human consumers. We analysed trace element concentrations from breast muscle of 51 auks collected off Newfoundland in the 2011–2012 hunting season. There were few differences in contaminant concentrations among species. In total, 14 (27%) exceeded Health Canada or international guidelines for arsenic, lead, or cadmium; none exceeded guidelines for mercury. Cadmium concentrations 40.05 μg/g have persisted in Newfoundland murres for the last 25 years. We urge the integration of this consumptive harvest for high-trophic marine predators into periodic human health risk assessments. &
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety
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    • "These minerals are required for the activation of cellular enzyme and hormone systems (Norziah and Ching 2000 ), and occurred in the following rank order of abundance: Ca > Fe > Mn > Zn > Cu. A system of continuous surveillance of contaminant content in food is crucial for consumer protection and facilitates international trade (Kuhnlein and Chan 2000 ). "

    Full-text · Dataset · Nov 2013
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    • "potato chips, pilot biscuits, cakes, chocolate, cookies and crackers) were widely consumed also. A number of factors may have contributed to the decline in traditional food consumption that has been reported among Arctic indigenous peoples in recent years; these include lack of time for hunting due to increased involvement in the wage economy, high cost of hunting equipment, ammunition and fuel, a decline in communal food sharing networks, concerns about food supply contamination by organochlorines and heavy metals, and reduced animal populations and changing migration patterns due to climate change [7,8,58]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background To determine the portion sizes of traditional and non-traditional foods being consumed by Inuit adults in three remote communities in Nunavut, Canada. Methods A cross-sectional study was carried out between June and October, 2008. Trained field workers collected dietary data using a culturally appropriate, validated quantitative food frequency questionnaire (QFFQ) developed specifically for the study population. Results Caribou, muktuk (whale blubber and skin) and Arctic char (salmon family), were the most commonly consumed traditional foods; mean portion sizes for traditional foods ranged from 10 g for fermented seal fat to 424 g for fried caribou. Fried bannock and white bread were consumed by >85% of participants; mean portion sizes for these foods were 189 g and 70 g, respectively. Sugar-sweetened beverages and energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods were also widely consumed. Mean portion sizes for regular pop and sweetened juices with added sugar were 663 g and 572 g, respectively. Mean portion sizes for potato chips, pilot biscuits, cakes, chocolate and cookies were 59 g, 59 g, 106 g, 59 g, and 46 g, respectively. Conclusions The present study provides further evidence of the nutrition transition that is occurring among Inuit in the Canadian Arctic. It also highlights a number of foods and beverages that could be targeted in future nutritional intervention programs aimed at obesity and diet-related chronic disease prevention in these and other Inuit communities.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · Nutrition Journal
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