“Tiger Meat”: A Holiday No-No
During the holiday season, there are many unique holiday dishes that are steeped in tradition. None is more unsafe than, the dish “tiger meat” or “cannibal sandwich.” This dish, popular in the Midwest at Christmas and New Year’s Eve parties, is a mixture of raw ground beef and raw eggs seasoned with spices and onions. The “tiger meat” presentation of this dish is served alongside crackers while the “cannibal sandwich” is served on rye bread.
No matter the way it is served, “tiger meat” should not be on the menu this holiday season. Eating raw or undercooked ground beef and eggs poses a health risk to healthy individuals and an even greater health risk for individuals with reduced immune systems. Individuals at increased risk include pregnant women, young children, and people living with cancer, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, or autoimmune disorders. In fact, this dish has been tied to multiple foodborne illness outbreaks over the years.
Why is it Unsafe to Eat Raw Ground Beef?
Eating raw or undercooked ground beef is dangerous because it may contain harmful bacteria. To be sure that all bacteria are destroyed, cook all dishes containing ground beef to 160 °F. The only way to tell if the temperature is right is with a food thermometer. Color is not an accurate indicator that ground beef is fully cooked. Read our blog “Get the Most out of Your Holiday Roast” to learn more about cooking holiday meats to a safe internal temperature.
Why is it Unsafe to Eat Raw Eggs?
As with all dishes containing egg, Salmonella bacteria are a concern. You cannot tell if an egg contains Salmonella. In fact, the bacterium has been found inside even a clean, unbroken egg. The bacteria can be found both on the outside and the inside of the shell. This means that just washing the egg does not remove the risk of foodborne illness. To be sure you do not get ill, eggs and egg dishes should be cooked to 160 °F.
While you may be tempted to serve this holiday dish, remember a bout of food poisoning will put a damper on anyone’s holiday spirits. There are many other delicious holiday foods you can serve instead. Keep you and your guests safe and say no to “tiger meat” this holiday season.