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The Centers for Disease Control Hopes You Can Enjoy a Boiled Charcuterie Board

The organization warns that Italian-style meats currently carry a risk of Salmonella infection, which can be avoided by microwaving or boiling away the flavor and texture

An angled overhead photo of a charcuterie board with various meats and cheeses.
Pretty, right? Trick question, don’t eat that!
Netrun78/Shutterstock

I have some bad news for Charcuterie Board TikTok: The CDC is currently recommending all “Italian-Style” meats be heated “to an internal temperature of 165°F or until steaming hot before eating,” if you are at high risk of complications from Salmonella. You heard that right, babe; it’s time to microwave that beautiful plate of salami and prosciutto until it’s sweating off sweet meat juice and filling your home with the aroma of slightly-off cured pork.

The notice that Salmonella-tainted “Italian-Style” meats have hit grocery store shelves was posted to the CDC’s website on August 24. Two outbreaks have affected people in at least 17 states, and 12 people have been hospitalized with links to the outbreaks. As of publication, the CDC is still working to identify the tainted products, and determine whether the two outbreaks are linked to a shared food source.

At the moment, it’s also not super clear what classifies as an “Italian-Style” meat. The CDC reports that people in both outbreaks reported eating salami, prosciutto, coppa, and soppressata, but things get a little tricky because they also consumed “other meats that can be found in antipasto or charcuterie assortments.”

I know what you’re thinking: What about my saucisson? How about my precious jambon de Bayonne?? Reader, I really do not know what to tell you about French charcuterie, as the CDC makes no mention of such a thing. Until more information is available, it might be safest to avoid pretty much all the good salty meats we use to fill the dark voids at the center of our lives. But it’s the little things that keep me going these days, so I wouldn’t judge you for risking it all for a couple slices of some salty pork and a soft slice of blue cheese.

Really, nothing quite matches the vibe of 2021 like being told that we should be heating our cured meats until they are literally STEAMING. Let me set the scene: A few fully vaccinated friends are coming over for a light bite and some chilled wine on the porch. You planned this cute little get together last week, and already bought allll that good good charcuterie. But now the CDC is telling you to microwave that shit, and you’re not one to ignore public health guidance. So you reluctantly throw the whole board in the microwave and watch as it spins and is destroyed by milky meat water collecting around the once-beautiful slices of soppressata and salami. A couple figs and some dried fruit aren’t enough to distract from the now-grey platter of meat, and everything has taken on the texture of old sponge. It’s okay though, because your friends love you, and with everything else going on right now, they just pretend not to notice the deeply disturbing pile of evidence you’ve placed in front of them. At least you surround yourself with good people!

Anyways, maybe we should all just stick to wine and olives for a little while. For all we know, they could be next.

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