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Twitter Reacts To Cannibal Sandwich Warning

By Kristy Puchko | Social Media | December 14, 2020 |

By Kristy Puchko | Social Media | December 14, 2020 |


The pandemic continues to rage through America, thanks in no small part to many who refuse to accept health advice based on facts from experts. Now, the debate over science versus “freedom” has taken on an unexpected new form, thanks to a controversial declaration: don’t eat raw meat.

For many, that may seem pretty obvious advice, as raw meat could carry dangerous bacteria like Salmonella, E. coli O157:H7, Campylobacter, and Listeria. However, for a subset of American culture, slapping some raw onions and rye bread on some raw beef is enough to consider it a delicacy worth the risk. That’s the Cannibal Sandwich, also known as a “Tiger Meat.” When the Wisconsin Department of Health Services tweeted that people shouldn’t indulge in this potentially hazardous holiday treat, debate raged on Twitter.

Here’s the initial tweet, which went viral.

To some, the Cannibal Sandwich was a shocking revelation.

Others confirmed the tradition, shared its origins, or otherwise defended the practice.

Others argued that robust tradition aside, it is nonetheless potentially dangerous.

There is a right way and a wrong way to prepare raw meat for safe consumption. For instance, you might love sushi, but you shouldn’t leap to the conclusion that you can grab some plastic-wrapped filets from the grocery store and make your own. However, social media is not the place for the nuance of proper meat procuration and preparation, so the DHWSI issued a blanket warning. Notably, even the USDA has come out against Cannibal Sandwiches.

USA Today reports the organization’s statement on the controversial cuisine:

“If cannibal 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°F, and serve it on top of bread or crackers. You may be surprised to find that it tastes better when cooked! Not to mention, you won’t be risking a trip to the hospital with every mouthful.”

The USA Today piece also notes that Wisconsin alone has suffered eight outbreaks linked to the eating of Cannibal Sandwiches since 1986. One salmonella outbreak in 1994 affected more than 150 people! Now, put such a potential outbreak into the context of the COVID pandemic.

By engaging in this culinary tradition this season, you could contract a bacteria that would require a hospital visit, during a time where hospitals across the country are being pushed to the brink because of rising COVID cases. Essentially, the risk of eating raw beef is even higher this year, because a hospital may not have the capacity for you, much less a whole family of Cannibal Sandwich eaters. So, rather than risk putting yourself and your loved ones at risk, and thereby binding up an already stressed health care system, skip the tiger meat, or at least cook it.

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Kristy Puchko is the managing editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.

Header Image Source: Getty