The approaching holidays has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on edge as the season for cannibal sandwiches approaches, reports NBC News on December 6. Cannibal sandwiches made by topping cocktail bread with raw ground beef and fresh onion or other toppings is a traditional holiday treat in many areas.
Cannibal sandwiches are popular with German, Polish and other ethnic groups and are often served at weddings, funerals and either Christmas or New Year’s Eve.
While cannibal sandwiches have been consumed for years, the CDC warns that raw ground beef may contain E. coli bacteria and poses a health risk. Last year, 13 cases of E. coli poisoning was reported in the Milwaukee area as after eating cannibal sandwiches, resulting in the recall of 2,500 pounds of ground beef.
The state health department issued warnings Thursday that all ground beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit and that cannibal sandwiches should be avoided.
According to the NBC News report, many of the residents were not aware of the danger of consuming raw ground beef and assumed it was safe because they have eaten it before with no ill effects.
According to Medical News Today (MNT), the symptoms of an E. coli infection typically appear within three to four days, but may be present as early as one day or take up to a week to surface. Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever and fatigue. It can range from mild discomfort to a life-threatening condition.