We all love grilling in the summertime. And if you eat Paleo, like I do, it becomes a year round thing for you. Summertime and grilling bring back family memories for everyone… little kids running in the sprinklers, adults chatting and having a drink, games, and laughter all around. But if you aren’t careful, your barbecue could injure or kill you.
I’m not talking about exploding propane tanks or burns from a fire on the grill… or even food poisoning. I’m talking about the wire bristle barbecue brush that you use to clean your grill with. There are hundreds of types of these brushes out there. The problem comes when you clean and you don’t do a thorough job of it. If you get lazy and careless, it could turn deadly. The bristles if left on the grill can get into your food and then into you with really bad results.
A 2012 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts this in stark relief concerning morbidity and mortality. Highlighting cases from March of 2011 through June of 2012, the results are alarming: “The severity of injury ranged from puncture of the soft tissues of the neck, causing severe pain on swallowing, to perforation of the gastrointestinal tract requiring emergent surgery,” according to the report. Not exactly a good time in my book.
This is on going. Just this month, there have been several cases of this. One Canadian woman took to Facebook to implore people not to use the metal barbecue brushes because of what happened to her son. “Just minutes after eating BBQ chicken last night Ollie started crying and complaining there was something stuck and hurting his throat,” Jenna Kuchik wrote. “X-ray confirmed a few hours later that there was indeed a metal bbq brush bristle in my little boy’s throat. Throughout the 2 hours at the hospital Ollie couldn’t swallow and kept gagging and spitting,” she added. They’ve now gone to a wooden barbecue grill cleaner.
There are a number of ways to prevent this from ever happening to you. Some you would never have thought of. When cleaning your grill, think about what you are doing and don’t cut corners. Do a thorough job cleaning the grill off, oiling it down and cleaning the barbecue out. Alternative cleaners are definitely an option as well. You can use a cloth and you can even clean a grill with an onion, according to The Learning Channel. And you should always inspect your grill before cooking.
It goes without saying that you should make sure that your meat is thoroughly cooked. Then when you are done cooking and cleaning, clean your cooking instruments and inspect them as well. The CDC report from 2012 recommends that everyone from healthcare professionals to manufacturers of wire grill-cleaning brushes to retailers to the public be aware of the issue. With some diligence and by being careful, you can avoid an encounter at a hospital for you or those you love.