ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta are advising residents in the Midwest to avoid eating what are referred to in the region as “cannibal sandwiches.”
Despite the name’s connotations, the sandwiches actually consist of raw ground beef, traditionally seasoned with onions and spices and served on either bread or crackers. It is typically enjoyed during the winter holiday season.
The practice has been cited as the cause of foodborne illness outbreaks since the 1970s, and continues to affect the health of people today, Reuters reports.
Several cases of E. Coli seen last year in Wisconsin around the holidays were also linked to cannibal sandwiches.
“Despite ongoing outreach efforts addressing the dangers associated with consuming undercooked or raw ground beef, this regional holiday tradition continues to be associated with outbreaks,” the CDC noted.
Health officials instead recommend cooking ground beef until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit in order to kill infection.