Berries from Blueberry Hill safe, say health officials
Tanya Collier MacDonald
Cape Breton Post
Saturday, Aug. 16, 2003
Blueberries growing at a popular
picking spot in Whitney
Pier are safe to eat, say health
"There is no health risk,"
Don Ferguson, senior adviser
for Health Canada, confirmed
He was remarking on a
health risk assessment completed
on blueberries picked at
Blueberry Hill off Lingan Road
in Whitney Pier.
The chemical health hazard
assessment division, part of
the Bureau of Chemical Safety
and Health Products and Food
Branch for Health Canada, did
the assessment and concluded
the berries are safe to consume.
"This gang is the ultimate
authority in Canada on food
safety," said Ferguson.
The berries were also
analysed by Dr. Beverly Hale,
University of Guelph. Her
effort was to compare substances
in those berries to
those picked in North Sydney
and retail food outlets. Specifically,
they were tested for metals and
polycyclic aromotic hydrocarbons.
Ferguson said there are differences
but they remain safe.
Gale's results and the health
risk assessments are now being
joined together to produce one
piece of information to be forwarded
to Dr. Jeff Scott, chief medical
officer of health for the province,
and Dr. Charl Badenhorst, medical
officer of health at the Cape Breton
District Health Authority.
"It's highly, highly unlikely
that the two medical officers of
health are going to challenge
the highest authority of the
nation," said Ferguson. "But
we have to respect their roles."
As to when the final results
will be available to the public,
Ferguson said, "We're trying to
get it out the door as soon as
The study was conducted as
a result of a JAG resolution.
It's been reported that members
of the community expressed concern
over the possible uptake of
chemicals in the soil by the
which are picked and consumed
by local residents.