The Abitibi-Témiscamingue health agency recommended earlier this month that people refrain from eating moose organs, including the kidneys and liver. They claim that organ samples collected last fall had abnormally high cadmium content. Cadmium is a toxic metal that can accumulate in herbivorous animals.

A press release from the Abitibi-Témiscamingue health agency admitted that the group did not procure enough organ samples to draw any definitive conclusions, but still considered their findings worrisome.

However, a recent study by the Cree Health Board indicates that increased cadmium in humans has very little to do with consuming moose meat, and more to do with smoking cigarettes.

The 2014 study concluded that among the 1429 participants, “smokers had significantly higher levels of blood cadmium than non-smokers, and that traditional food consumption was not a good predictor of cadmium exposure.”

The Cree Health Board continues to encourage the consumption of traditional foods.