Perseverance pays off with seal oil approval for elder homes
March 18, 2021
Seal oil has been a staple in the diet of Alaska’s Inupiat for generations.
The oil — ever-present in households dotting Alaska coastlines — is used mainly as a dipping sauce for fish, caribou and musk ox. It’s also used to flavor stews and even eaten alone.
But when Inupiat elders entered nursing homes, they were cut off from the comfort food. State regulations didn’t allow seal oil because it’s among traditionally prepared Alaska Native foods that have been associated with the state’s high rate of botulism, which can cause illness or death.
That’s changing for 18 residents...