Environment & Contaminants in Food Systems

ENVIRONMENT AND CONTAMINANTS IN TRADITIONAL FOOD SYSTEMS OF NORTHERN INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

H. V. Kuhnlein and H. M. Chan, 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; e-mail: Kuhnlein@macdonald.mcgill.ca

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.

Annu. Rev. Nutr. 2000. 20:595-626.

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