How in the hell is kiviak safe to eat?


For the uninitiated, kiviak is a traditional Greenlandic dish. It’s basically made from a ton of dead birds stuffed into a hollowed-out seal corpse and left under a rock for three months.

>Kiviak is a bizarre Inuit delicacy originating from Greenland. It consists of numerous dead auk birds that are stuffed into a dead seal, and the combination is then left to ferment under a rock, usually for around three months. The seal needs to be packed tightly, so around 400 or 500 auk birds are used, including the feet, beaks, and feathers.

>The dish was originally prepared to ensure easily-accessible food during the harsh winter months, and nowadays it’s especially popular during the Christmas season. The seal fat repels flies, while large rocks are used to keep the air out to prevent the dish from going bad.

How does this not kill you from food poisoning? 

In: Biology

It’s explained right there in the text that you quoted. The lack of air, the seal fat repelling flies, and probably very cold temperatures consistently, is not allowing for anything harmful to grow.

The birds ferment in the anaerobic environment of the sealskin bag. Fermentation is one of the ways humans preserved foods before refrigeration.

Fermentation can produce conditions in the food that prevent harmful organisms from spoiling it. And it’s probably pretty cold too, so that helps.

Who thought to do this in the first place though? Really. I’m gonna take those birds and stick them in that seal and taste it in a few months.