“Cannibal Sandwiches” CAN BE BAD FOR YOU!

Earlier this year in January, health authorities in Wisconsin received reports of seriously ill persons who were infected with the type of E.coli bacteria that can cause kidney failure.

An investigation into the cause of the outbreak revealed that the illnesses were associated with consumption of raw ground beef served as “tiger meat” or “cannibal sandwiches.”

The raw ground beef typically is a traditional winter holiday speciality in certain regions of the upper Midwest in the United States.

There were 62 people who pre-ordered the raw ground beef from a commercial market. Responses to a questionnaire identified 15 people who infected. While most of the people interviewed were aware that raw ground beef could cause illness, less that half thought that the illness could be severe. Symptoms of an E. coli infection include stomach cramps and diarrhea. It can also lead to kidney failure, particularly in the elderly, children and people with weak immune systems. In spite of this publicized outbreak, many of the people involved reported that they plan to continue this traditional holiday practice.

There is always a potential for severe illness associated with consumption of raw ground beef. To be safe and prevent serious illness, ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F (71 degrees C), as measured with a food thermometer, before consumption.

With the beginning of the 2013 winter holiday season, it is important to realize that this tradition of eating raw ground beef in any form can lead to the transmission of serious E.coli strains, as well as a number of other potentially fatal germs.