Please, Don’t Include “Tiger Meat” on Your Holiday Menu
This Midwest holiday favorite might give the gift of food poisoning
When it comes to infamous holiday "treats," fruitcake is one thing. "Tiger meat," often served in the Midwest at Christmas and New Year's celebrations, is another — one that you definitely don't want to put on the menu.
The stuff isn't really the meat from a big cat, but rather a dish that consists of raw ground beef, raw egg, spices and onions, according to FoodSafety.gov. Also known as a “cannibal sandwich,” tiger meat is especially popular in communities with large populations of German immigrants, according to South Dakota Magazine.
Should you encounter tiger meat at a potluck, before you grab a cracker and scoop up a bite, take note: This dish poses several risk factors for foodborne illness. Raw or undercooked beef could contain E. coli, salmonella or listeria, bacteria that are risky for healthy people and especially dangerous for pregnant women, children and anyone with a compromised immune system, according to FoodSafety.gov.
Salmonella can be found on the inside of raw eggs as well as on the shell. The early symptoms of salmonellosis may include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, chills, fever or headache, with stomach cramps about 6 to 72 hours later.
Related: Holiday Food Safety Do’s and Don’ts
In 2012, more than a dozen people in Wisconsin became ill after eating raw meat, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. This led Wisconsin health officials to caution people against partaking in this holiday tradition.
Even cooked meat can be contaminated with bacteria if it isn't prepared correctly. To reduce the risk of getting sick from eating meat, cook it to the proper temperature. According to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service, ground beef should be cooked to 160 degrees F. Steaks, as well as pork, veal and lamb chops, should be cooked to 145 degrees F and allowed to rest for three minutes. Egg dishes also should be cooked to 160 degrees F, according to the USDA.