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Cannibal sandwiches: Raw beef in 'cannibal' traditions, Wisconsin a key center

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Cannibal sandwiches are the not-so-subtle nickname for raw beef sandwiches that some residents enjoy as a seasonal “cannibal” tradition, but health experts are warning the public, especially in Wisconsin as a key center this year, to avoid such a risky food. Kidney failure can result in the most extreme cases, but several cases of E. coli bacterial strains and other illnesses have been reported as a result of eating the raw and bloody meat, the Huffington Post reveals this Friday, Dec. 6, 2013.

These cannibal sandwiches are said to be eaten most often in the upper U.S. Midwest, particularly in states like Wisconsin, as a tradition of sorts with a sandwich of uncooked ground beef. However, health officials are giving these “cannibals” a heads-up that foodborne illnesses are continuing to outbreak as a result of eating raw meat, with a particular spike in cases last year.

Eating raw ground beef between regular sandwich bread and usual sandwich toppings are said to have led to over 50 severe cases of sickness in 1972 alone in Wisconsin, and several cases have also been reported this 2012, shares the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a special press release on these so-called cannibal sandwiches.

Raw beef in meals haa been associated with a possible 12 illnesses of E. coli bacterial strain within this 2012 winter holiday season as well. It is believed that a tradition of eating these uncooked, even bloody sandwiches may be why Wisconsin continues to experience the highest records of these illnesses during the wintertime.

The dangerous E. coli bacteria can cause a variety of detrimental symptoms, with the most severe being kidney failure. Other symptoms include extreme dehydration, bloody diarrhea, and very painful abdominal cramping that can last between days to a couple of weeks as a result.

"Despite ongoing outreach efforts addressing the dangers associated with consuming undercooked or raw ground beef, this regional holiday tradition in key centers of Wisconsin continues to be associated with outbreaks," the CDC said this week.

Cannibal sandwiches don’t sound very appetizing at all, and the health officials are hoping the very name will discourage people across the U.S. and especially in the upper states to avoid intentionally consuming raw ground beef this holiday time.



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