Like some look forward to their favorite magazine, I look forward to receiving my copy – now online – of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This week came with the reminder that people in Wisconsin need to pay a bit more attention to food safety.
On January 8, 2013, the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene notified the Wisconsin Division of Public Health (WDPH) of two patients with Escherichia coli O157:H7 clinical isolates that had indistinguishable, but commonly identified, pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns.
The two patients were interviewed by local health departments within 1 day of the initial report. They revealed that they had eaten raw ground beef purchased from the same meat market and served as “tiger meat” or “cannibal sandwiches.” In this dish, the raw ground beef typically is served on rye bread or crackers with onions and is a traditional winter holiday specialty in certain regions of the upper Midwest. Five agencies (the Watertown Department of Health; WDPH; Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection; U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service; and CDC) investigated to determine the magnitude of the outbreak, prevent additional infections, and better understand raw ground beef consumption.
Wisconsin folks, don’t do it.