3 people treated for botulism from eating fermented seal

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Three people in a western Alaska village have been treated for botulism after eating fermented seal flipper.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports (http://bit.ly/1E9rZO8 ) that the Koyuk residents fell ill after eating meat from two different seals on two separate occasions.

State infectious disease program manager Michael Cooper says that the seal flipper was wrapped in seal skin and placed in a box in both instances.

Cooper says eating traditionally fermented foods is risky, but steps can be taken to reduce the risk.

According to a 2011 state report, it is safer to age fish using the traditional method of placing it in grass or straw. Glass, plastic and sealed bags do not allow air to reach the food and can increase the likelihood of the formation of the botulinum toxin.


Information from: Alaska Dispatch News, http://www.adn.com

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