I don’t know about you, but I don’t eat raw meat. But in Wisconsin, state health officials are urging locals to cut “cannibal sandwiches‘” from their holiday menus this year.
A Cannibal sandwich is a dish also known as “tiger meat,” which consists of raw ground beef and sliced raw onions on rye bread.
On Saturday, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services tweeted, “For many #Wisconsin families, raw meat sandwiches are a #holiday tradition, but eating raw meat is NEVER recommended because of the bacteria it can contain.” They added, “Ground beef should always be cooked to 160 degrees!”
On Facebook, the department warned that eating raw meat “poses a threat for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter and Listeria bacteria.”
In a 2018 blog post, the US Department of Agriculture noted that hundred of people in the Midwest were sick from eating cannibal sandwiches every holiday season. Since 1986, there have been eight raw meat-related outbreaks.
Health Officials are unsure if Wisconsinites will heed warnings this year, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel included the dish on its 2018 list of Wisconsin’s favorite holiday culinary traditions.
The newspaper said, “It’s a popular item at Wisconsin family tables during the holidays, and it’s not for the faint of heart.”
Just last year, Bunzel’s Meat Market in Milwaukee said they went through more than 1,000 pounds of raw beef and 250 pounds of raw onions just for the sandwiches during the holiday period.