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News Release For Immediate Release
May 10, 2012
Wash and cook fiddleheads to prevent illness
Grey Bruce residents are being reminded to thoroughly wash and cook fiddleheads before they are consumed to avoid illness. Fiddleheads are curled, edible shoots of the ostrich fern. Considered a seasonal delicacy, fiddleheads are collected in the wild and are commonly eaten at this time of year.
Five cases of illness associated with fiddleheads have been reported in Ontario. To prevent illness, it is important to thoroughly wash and cook fiddleheads before eating them." said Andrew Barton, Program Manager for the Grey Bruce Health Unit.
Cases of temporary illness from eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads were first reported in 1994 and additional cases have been reported periodically since then across Canada. While the cause of this temporary illness is not known, Health Canada believes it is most likely the result of an unidentified natural toxin present in the fiddlehead.
Illness associated with consuming fiddleheads is uncommon. Symptoms of illness appear within 30 minutes to 12 hours of eating raw or undercooked fiddleheads and typically last for less than 24 hours but may last as long as three days. Symptoms may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and headaches.
Fiddlehead food safety tips include:
Never eat raw fiddleheads.
Remove as much of the brown, papery husk as possible.
Wash the fiddleheads well using fresh, cold water.
Cook fiddleheads by boiling them for 15 minutes or by steaming them for 10 to 12 minutes.
Discard water used for boiling or steaming fiddleheads, as it may contain the toxin.
More information about how to safely enjoy fiddleheads can be found on Health Canada's
website Food Safety Tips for Fiddleheads - Health Canada at: http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/kitchen-cuisine/fiddlehead-fougere-eng.php
People who believe that they may have become ill as a result of eating fiddleheads should
contact Public Health at 519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 or see their family physician.
For more information:
Grey Bruce Health Unit
519-376-9420 or 1-800-263-3456 ext. 1353
We work with the Grey Bruce community to protect and promote health