Are some holiday traditions worth passing on? The Wisconsin Department of Health Services sure doesn’t think so. And that tradition? Raw meat sandwiches, sometimes called Tiger Meat, Cannibal Sandwiches or steak tartare. 

Many families in the upper Midwest, but seemingly across the U.S., consider these sandwiches to be a holiday tradition, but eating them poses a serious threat for Salmonella, E. coli, Campylobacter and Listeria bacteria that can make you sick. 

“And, no, it doesn’t matter where you buy your beef!” the Wisconsin Department of Health Services said in a recent Facebook post.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, there have been eight outbreaks in that state linked to the consumption of raw ground beef since 1986. This includes a large Salmonella outbreak involving more than 150 people in December 1994.

To avoid becoming a statistic this year, make sure that any meat products you consume are cooked to the proper internal temperature listed below:

  • Beef, pork, lamb and veal steaks, chops and roasts: 145 degrees F with a three-minute rest.
  • Ground beef, pork, lamb and veal: 160 degrees F.
  • Poultry, whole or ground: 165 degrees F.

If raw beef sandwiches are a tradition in your home, try this safe alternative: cook the ground beef with the same spices and toppings, until it reaches 160 degrees F, and serve it on top of bread or crackers. 

You may find that it tastes better when cooked, and you won’t be risking a trip to the hospital.

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