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Being a person of culture means appreciating and sometimes even sampling delicacies from around the world. From steak tartare to Ethiopian gored gored, raw beef can be a beautiful meal when prepared correctly. Unfortunately for Americans, a bunch of them seem to be using Christmas as an opportunity to hoof down raw mince meat from the supermarket in something called a cannibal sandwich.

Now a food safety alert has been put out by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services urging people not to eat raw mince this Christmas.

“For many Wisconsin families, raw meat sandwiches are a holiday tradition, but eating raw meat is NEVER recommended because of the bacteria it can contain,” the department said in a Tweet on Monday.

“Since 1986, eight outbreaks have been reported in Wisconsin linked to eating a raw ground beef dish, including a large Salmonella outbreak involving more than 150 people during December 1994,” it added on its website.

The dish has also been linked to E. coli, Campylobacter and Listeria infections.

Local newspaper the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel included cannibal sandwiches on its list of top ten holiday meals, but made clear you need to use super lean, super fresh meat.

Typically the meat is eaten on a slice of rye bread and garnished with raw onion and perhaps even a delicate sprig of parsley.

However health authorities stressed that no matter how fresh the meat may be, the meal – which dates back to the 1800s – is never safe to eat.

Now people on Twitter are losing their minds over the fact this is even a thing in the first place.

Whether it’s the name, the hyperlocal nature of the Chrissy tradition, or just the general idea of it all, it seems nobody outside Wisconsin can wrap their minds around eating this most cursed of Christmas meals.

On Facebook, the announcement caused a slightly different and more local stir.

Many locals took it upon themselves to defend the tradition.

“As much as I respect the Dept of Health, I’ve been eating them since I was 6. I’m not stopping now. (And this isn’t ‘party food’. This is ‘I’m hungry for this and will eat it on any day that ends in Y’.)” said one person.

However many people simply took issue with the message encouraging people to “pass on” the tradition. Did they mean people should pass, or is the Wisconsin Department of Health Services now in the pocket of Big Salmonella?

You decide.

Image: Twitter / @DHSWI