Do you clean your grill with a metal-bristled brush, the type that comes in most grilling utensil sets? A new report warns that consumers should be aware of the potential health threat these brushes pose, as hospitals are treating more patients sickened by accidental ingestion of metal bristles that fall off the brushes and stick to food on the grill. The Rhode Island Hospital released the most recent report, which documents six patients admitted to the hospital for severe neck or abdominal pain soon after eating grilled meat. After imaging tests revealed wire bristles lodged in their bodies, they had to undergo surgery to remove the bristles. Nearly all the patients had eaten steaks, burgers, or other meat from a grill recently scrubbed with a metal grill brush.
Dr. David Grand, the author of the report, says there is no way to know how common the phenomenon is at this point, but that consumers should be cautious when it comes to cleaning the grill. His advice:
Throw out old or worn metal brushes, and look for different ways to clean the grates. If the grill was recently cleaned with a wire brush, inspect the grill before lighting it or cooking on it. "In my house I wipe the grate down with a wet paper towel, hoping that if there is a bristle stuck in the grill, I'll remove it," he said.
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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