Seal meat

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Meat from young Harp Seal

Seal meat is the flesh, including the blubber and organs, of seals used as food for humans or other animals. It is prepared in numerous ways, often being hung and dried before consumption. Historically, it has been eaten in many parts of the world, both as a part of a normal diet, and as sustenance.

The blubber is fed to chickens in the United States.

Practice of human consumption continues today in Japan, Norway, Iceland, Faroe Islands, by Basques, the Inuit and other indigenous peoples of the United States (including the Makah people of the Pacific Northwest), Canada, Greenland; the Chukchi people of Siberia, and Bequia in the Caribbean Sea.

Nutritional value[edit]

Seal meat
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
3.2 g
Saturated .820
Monounsaturated 1.720
Polyunsaturated 0.060
28.4 g
Tyrosine 3
Vitamins
Vitamin A equiv.
(15%)
116 μg
Thiamine (B1)
(87%)
1 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
(44%)
0.530 mg
(13%)
0.650 mg
Trace metals
Calcium
(1%)
5 mg
Iron
(151%)
19.60 mg
Phosphorus
(34%)
238 mg
Sodium
(7%)
110 mg
Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient Database

Seal blubber and meat was studied to help understand the nutritional composition. Two species were evaluated by the Section of Applied and Industrial Biology, Department of Biology, University of Bergen Thormehlensgate and the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research. The species were the hooded seal (Cystophora cristata) and harp seal (Phagophilus groenlandicus). The specimens used in the study were taken from Greenland's West Ice.

Particular substances were measured, including amino acids and proximal composition, the fatty acid composition, vitamin content, and selected minerals and trace-elements.

Seal meat in general is lean, containing less than 2% fat. This fat is mostly MUFAs, long- and VLC n - 3 PUFAs. Also, the meat is high in protein and has an amino acid composition that is well balanced.

Seal meat hanging to dry on St. Lawrence Island

The study showed significant differences in nutrituional composition from one seal to another. This may have been due to the highly varied age and size of the seals tested. In general, both the meat and blubber can be considered to be high quality food in terms of bioactive components and nutrients. On average, a woman's recommended daily intake of vitamin B12 and iron can be met with only 40 grams of seal meat.

Further findings showed that the blubber is a superb source of long- and very long-chain (VLC) n - 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), as well as long- and VLC monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs).

A significant difference between the meat and blubber was determined when testing eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) content. Harp seal blubber contained 9.2% while the muscle tissue contained only 3%.

High levels of trace elements were found. In particular, hooded seal muscle meat contained 379 μg/g of iron and harp seal muscle meat contained 30 μg/g of zinc.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]