July 16, 2019

Eating Raw Meat Causes WI Food Poisoning Outbreak, Again

A Wisconsin E. coli outbreak announced this week was linked to tainted ground beef that sickened three people who ate it raw. A raw meat outbreak? Yes. And it’s not the first time this has happened in Wisconsin.

Ground Beef on PaperIn parts of the Midwest, “Tiger Meat,” a raw ground beef dish similar to steak tartare is popular in some circles, especially those of German heritage. The three people who recently contracted E.coli infections ate Tiger Meat made with raw ground beef purchased from Glenn’s Market and Catering in Watertown, Wisconsin.  Glenn’s has recalled 2,532 pounds of raw, ground meat specifically fresh ground round, fresh ground chuck and fresh ground beef from the morning grind of December 22, 2012 – January 4, 2013. The recalled meat was sold only from the retail meat case. No other products are included in the recall.

In late December 1994, more than 100 Wisconsinites were sickened by Salmonella after eating the raw beef mixture, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There were 107 confirmed cases and 51 probable cases.  The patients ranged in age from 2 to 90 years old, 17 of them were hospitalized.  The source of contamination was identified as the butcher shop that ground the beef.

“The outbreak occurred during the winter holiday season, and some patients reported that consumption of raw ground beef during these holidays was a practice brought from Europe by their ancestors,” says an editorial note to the CDC’s report which begins on the somewhat exasperated note: “Despite previously publicized outbreaks of illness associated with and recommendations to avoid eating undercooked meat, some persons continue to eat under-cooked or raw meat.”

The CDC, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and most public health officials advise that ground beef is safe to consume only when it is cooked to an internal temperature of 160° F.

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