Nunavut Creates New Food Safety Guidelines

Caribou, seal, muskox now on the menu a bit more.
November 20, 2017

In 2014 the Canadian Government’s Health Department and Nunavut Food Security Coalition partnered to decrease food-borne illness by creating a guide for Food Handlers. The new guide, Serving Country Food in Government-Funded Facilities and Community Programs is a product of that partnership. The guide is intended to educate hospitals, prisons, elder care centres and other similar facilities to serve country meats safely. Country meats are known as local fish, caribou, muskox, seal, whale, polar bear and walrus (all specific to Nunavut).  

The guidelines detail: 

  • proper handling instructions
  • tips on  purchasing food from local hunters and trappers
  • proper long-term storage of foods 
  • how to keep food safe during feasts 

The recommendations also speak to the proper inspection of the food itself, checking for bruises, monitoring its storage temperature of 4℃ / 40℉ or colder and looking at its packaging. Safe packaging includes aluminum foil, resealable bags, and butcher paper; meanwhile garbage bags, grocery bags and cardboard are deemed unsafe for storing food.

Many hospitals in Nunavut serve country meats already, however, only on special occasions. With increased education, hospitals and other facilities will now offer country meats on a weekly basis. 

The CBC originally published this story.