Published On: Sat, Jul 7th, 2012

The danger of ingesting wire bristles during your summer cook-out

There’s one more thing to concern yourself with while cooking out on the grill this summer, and its not even related to the proper cooking of meat.

grilling chicken

Public domain photo/ Heggyhomolit at the wikipedia project

Now the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is warning of the  ingestion of wire bristles from grill-cleaning brushes in a report in the latest issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

In the report, between August of 2011 and June of 2012 in Providence, RI, six people went to the hospital with internal injuries from wire bristles lodged in their necks or stomachs.

The six patients range in age from 31 to 64 years. Five of the six were men. All of them had eaten food grilled outdoors, on grills that had been cleaned with commercially available wire grill-cleaning brushes. Injuries included puncture of soft tissues of the neck to perforation of the GI tract, requiring emergeny surgery.

According to the CDC, Foreign object ingestion resulted in approximately 80,000 ED visits in 2010; the vast majority occurred in children. Serious morbidity from foreign object ingestion occurs in <1% of ED cases.

Actions to prevent these injuries include increasing awareness among consumers, manufacturers, retailers, and medical professionals to promote prevention, timely diagnosis, and appropriate treatment.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is reviewing grill-cleaning brush-related injury data to see if a product defect pattern emerges. That could prompt a recall, consumer warning, or some other regulatory action.

According to a report in the Food Poisoning Journal, the following steps are recommended to help protect yourself and your family against this completely preventable injury:

  • Examine the grill brush before use to see if any bristles are loose.
  • Before cooking, look at the grill surface carefully to make sure there are no loose bristles on the grill that could become embedded in food.
  • You may want to rinse off the grill rack after cleaning with a wire brush to remove any loose bristles. Dry it thoroughly before replacing on the grill.
  • Be aware that this risk does exist. If anyone complains of pain swallowing or stomach pain after each food cooked on a grill that has been cleaned with a wire brush, see a health care professional immediately.


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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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