- Associated Press - Monday, March 28, 2016

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - State regulators in Alaska are working with a Native organization that wants to serve its nursing home residents seal oil, a traditional staple that’s banned in public settings because of its high risk for botulism.

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation says it would grant an exemption to the Kotzebue (KAHT’-seh-byoo)-based Maniilaq (muh-NEE’-luhk) Association if it can demonstrate a safe method for rendering the oil.

Alaska consistently has among the highest rates of foodborne botulism, which can lead to temporary paralysis.

Maniilaq hopes it can add seal oil to the list of traditional foods that can legally be donated to facilities such as its Kotzebue nursing home, which serves elderly Inupiat Eskimos. The organization, a regional tribal health care nonprofit, has also recently begun to incorporate other traditional foods on the menu.

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