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The CDC’s ‘Italian-Style Meats’ Alert Is Why Americans Don’t Listen to Experts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued an all-caps “OUTBREAK ALERT” this week warning of the latest menace to public health: “Italian-style meats.”


Maybe it’s time for Americans to go back to mostly ignoring the CDC — or at least to take official public health advice with a grain of salt.


Pending an investigation, the CDC announced Tuesday, preschool, elderly and otherwise “higher risk” Americans should not consume any “Italian-style meats” without first heating them until “steaming hot.”

Meats that now require steaming include “salami, prosciutto, and other meats that can often be found in antipasto or charcuterie assortments,” the CDC said.

  • The agency cited 36 Salmonella-linked illnesses across 17 states, leading to 12 hospitalizations and zero deaths.


While the CDC warning made serious headlines, Twitter skeptics mocked it as yet another reminder of how out of touch official public health officialdom can be with real life.

  • “The CDC’s ideal restaurant would be one where the prosciutto is boiled, the egg yolks are not jammy, the steak is well-done, only a single glass of wine is consumed, and you wear a mask between bites,” said Liz Wolfe, an editor at Reason, alluding to widely disregarded rules for wearing a protective mask and consuming eggs, meat and alcohol.
  • The Atlantic writer Conor Friedersdorf commented: “When I say that public health officials should stick to conveying accurate information as scrupulously as possible, because they’re bad at gaming public psychology anyway, and people ask me why I think they don’t understand public psychology, now I have an example.”
  • “Why is the CDC stoking the flames of anti-Italian racism?” joked Aaron Sibarium, a Washington Free Beacon reporter.


The director of the National Institutes of Health told CNN earlier this month that, with the spread of the delta variant of COVID-19, parents of unvaccinated children should wear masks at home.


“I know that’s uncomfortable, I know it seems weird, but it is the best way to protect your kids,” said Dr. Francis Collins, who also pointed to updated CDC guidance that all students and staff should wear masks at school.

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