Country Foods for Good Health: Developing a Country Food Database for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (2019-2022)

There is increasing recognition that public health strategies related to contaminant exposures in Indigenous communities need to balance the risks and benefits of consuming country foods. This project uses a participatory approach where northern communities guide the research process to identify sources of contaminant and nutrient exposure, and develop appropriate public health messages. Northern partners and communities have guided the research process to improve the outcomes for the Inuvialuit Settlement Region (ISR) in the Northwest Territories (NT) and Nunavut (NU). Our research has three main goals: 1) generate current and regional data on contaminants in country foods in the ISR; 2) revise a Health Messages Survey for the ISR; and, 3) estimate the contribution of beluga to overall nutrient and contaminant intake for Inuit in the ISR and Nunavut. Animal tissue samples were collected in Paulatuk and Tuktoyaktuk, NT from fish, birds, marine mammals and terrestrial mammals through community-based sampling and collaboration with existing environmental monitoring programs. Country food samples will be analyzed for legacy contaminants, including persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals (mercury, methylmercury, lead and cadmium). Food quality and safety will be assessed through the analysis of fat content, including polyunsaturated fatty acids, select vitamins and minerals, and animal exposure to zoonotic diseases. Contaminant and nutrient profiles of store-bought foods will be developed using pre-existing data from the Total Diet Study and Canadian Nutrient File. A survey will be developed to evaluate the communication of health messages, using the outcomes from focus group meetings with community members and key informant interviews with public health practitioners in the ISR and Yellowknife. In addition, pre-existing health messages related to country and store-bought foods will be compiled through key informant interviews. The re-assessment of Inuit Health Survey data from 2007-2008 will respond to questions from Territorial Health Authorities in Nunavut and Northwest Territories about the safety of consuming beluga. This project responds to questions raised by communities in the ISR and Territorial Health Departments about the quality and safety of store-bought and country foods and supports future biomonitoring and health communication in the ISR.

Metadata Access
Creator Ostertag, Sonja; Hu, Xue Feng; Laird, Brian; Skinner, Kelly
Publisher Canadian Cryospheric Information Network
Contributor Polar Data Catalogue
Publication Year 2020
Rights Research programs, CCIN, or ArcticNet take no liability for the use or transmission of this data
OpenAccess true
Contact sonja.ostertag(at); pdc(at)
Language English
Format Computer file
Discipline Environmental Research
Spatial Coverage (-134.000W, 62.000S, 114.000E, 69.000N)
Temporal Coverage Begin 2020-02-03T00:00:00Z
Temporal Coverage End 2022-01-31T00:00:00Z