Cannibal Sandwiches Sicken Wisconsin Residents

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"Cannibal sandwiches," an appetizer featuring raw, lean ground beef served on cocktail bread, may be a Wisconsin tradition, but they are not safe, health officials said, noting that more than a dozen people became ill after consuming them last holiday season, according to The Associated Press. Health officials confirmed four cases tied to E. coli bacteria and 13 likely cases in people who ate the sandwiches at several gatherings late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a report. The meat came from a Watertown market that later recalled more than 2,500 pounds of meat. Cannibal sandwiches were tied to outbreaks in Wisconsin in 1972, 1978 and 1994. The appetizer, also called "tiger meat," "steak tartare" or simply "ground beef," is usually a simple dish of lean ground meat seasoned with salt and pepper on rye cocktail bread with sliced raw onion, said Milwaukee historian John Gurda, who served it at his 1977 wedding reception. Occasionally, a raw egg will be mixed with the meat.

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