CDC Warns Against 'Cannibal' Sandwiches

Raw meat sandwiches sicken diners in the Midwest

The CDC is urging people to avoid the 'cannibal sandwich' this holiday season.

The "cannibal sandwich," a Midwest holiday snack for the most committed of meat lovers, has shocked the nation's health officials, who are recommending that nobody eat them ever.

The cannibal sandwich originated in Wisconsin, and it resembles an easy, homemade steak tartare. It consists of raw beef seasoned with salt and pepper and served with sliced raw onion on a slice of rye cocktail bread. Sometimes a raw egg is mixed in with the meat, which is part of what has the CDC shaking its head. Adding the raw egg basically creates a mixture which, while possibly tasty, is an ideal breeding environment for bacteria that cause foodborne illnesses.

Raw meat is really a dish one usually wants to leave to the professionals. Cannibal sandwiches have been linked to more than 50 cases of foodborne illness, the CDC said in a report this week, according to Reuters. They were linked to at least four and possibly more than a dozen cases of food-borne illness caused by E. Coli during the holiday season last year, and the CDC is hoping to avoid more instances by discouraging people from their homemade raw beef snacks. So far the campaign has not been entirely successful, the CDC admits.

"Despite ongoing outreach efforts addressing the dangers associated with consuming undercooked or raw ground beef, this regional holiday tradition continues to be associated with outbreaks," it said.

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