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USDA warns against eating 'cannibal sandwiches'

By: Bob D’Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

’Tis the season for eating, but the U.S. Department of Agriculture is warning consumers to stay away from “cannibal sandwiches” — a dish featuring raw ground beef, garnished with onions and spices and served on bread or crackers.

It seems to be a tradition in Wisconsin, and the state’s Department of Health Services warned there have been eight outbreaks of people becoming sick from the raw meat since 1986. More than 150 people were affected during a 1994 outbreak, the department said on its website.

The meal can be dangerous because it is uncooked and could contain harmful bacteria that can only be killed by cooking the meat at a minimum temperature of 160 degrees, the USDA said.

The dish, also known as Tiger meat or steak tartare, is never safe to consume because it is raw meat, the USDA reported.

The USDA recommends that steaks, chops and roasts that use beef, pork, lamb and veal as their main ingredients should be cooked at a minimum temperature of 145 degrees. Ground beef, pork, lamb and veal should be cooked at 160 degrees, while any kind of poultry should be heated at 165 degrees.

If you have a question about preparing a safe alternative to cannibal sandwiches, the USDA suggests calling the USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-674-6854 or chatting live online at AskKaren.gov from from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday.

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