Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium International (APRCi)



Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2010


Aboriginal Policy Research Consortium International (APRCi)


In spring 2010, Maliseet Nation Conservation Council (MNCC) has conducted a study to test fiddleheads for contaminants. As Fiddleheads are important traditional foods of Maliseet Indians of the Saint John River Valley and widely consumed veggie in the province of New Brunswick we decided to test fiddleheads for contaminants. Though it was initially planned to test fiddlehead samples from entire province of New Brunswick, due to unavoidable circumstances the study has to be restricted to the Fredericton and suburbs. In accordance with the revised experimental plan, twenty five fiddlehead samples collected from Jemseg, Sugar Island, Mactaquac and Nashwaaksis areas were analysed for Mercury, Arsenic, Nickel and Cadmium at the Research and Productive Council laboratory, Fredericton. According to the outcome of the study, our samples contained insignificant amounts of Mercury and Arsenic. However, estimated Nickel (0.4 – 3.8ppm) and Cadmium (0.013 – 0.195ppm) levels were slightly higher than the recommended levels by different international organizations such as CODEX, FAO etc. As the final leg of the current phase of the study, a workshop was held in Fredericton to collect traditional knowledge of fiddleheads and disseminate the outcome of the study. It was a well attended meeting and the views and inputs of participants to our traditional knowledge study were very useful especially to formulate future studies to test more traditional foods of aboriginals for contaminants.

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