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March 26, 1973

Bear Meat Hazards

JAMA. 1973;223(13):1512. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220130056025

To the Editor.—  Dr. Paul J. Mattes,1 in a reaction to the EDITORIAL "Dangers of Eating Bear Meat"2 recently made the supposition that Andrée and his fellow balloonists may have perished as a result of trichinosis combined with a hypervitaminosis A intoxication caused by the consumption of bear liver.In my opinion, a correction on this point is necessary. The danger of eating bear liver (but not bear meat!) was well known to explorers, ever since Gerrit de Veer, the chronicler of Willem Barentz (1597) gave the first description of the symptoms of bear liver intoxication.3 The diary of Andrée found on his body in 1930 makes it absolutely clear that this danger was known to him. As a matter of fact, Andrée was an experienced balloonist and polar explorer. The technical knowledge of our days makes his expedition perhaps absurd in our eyes. The cause of