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Wisconsin health department reminds people not to eat raw meat

Some families consider it a holiday tradition.
Credit: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

MADISON, Wis. — Amid everything else going on in 2020, here's one way to avoid getting sick: pass on the raw meat sandwiches.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services recently sent out its annual reminder to residents, asking people not to eat the unique culinary dish that might go by the name of tiger meat or wildcat or something else entirely.

"Time for our annual reminder that there's one #holiday tradition you need to pass on: raw meat sandwiches, sometimes called Tiger Meat or Cannibal Sandwiches," the agency wrote on Facebook. "Many Wisconsin families consider them to be a holiday tradition, but eating them poses a threat for Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter and Listeria bacteria that can make you sick."

It's true that people enjoy taking a bite; the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in 2018 also noted the sandwiches are one of the state's "favorite holiday culinary traditions." With ground raw beef and onions on rye bread, "it's not for the faint of heart."

One store in Milwaukee at the time reportedly sold 1,000 pounds of raw beef for the sandwiches on Christmas Eve and 600-700 pounds of it on New Year's Eve.

"We want 100% lean beef, super fresh, no injections, no chemicals in it,” said Perry Podd, the store co-owner and manager to the Sentinel. "We let people season their own. Usually they’ll get the onion and the salt and pepper and a nice beer."

The Wisconsin agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using a food thermometer to make sure raw meat is cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.

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