A warning about outdoor grilling: Danger lurks!


Be careful the next time you eat a hamburger or other product cooked on an outdoor grill. There could be danger lurking in the form of undetected wire bristles left by grill-cleaning brushes. The problem is so serious that the Center For Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a consumer warning.

The small wires can work their way into the hamburgers or other food being grilled, and then into you. Such ingestions happen, and the results are not only extremely painful but deadly if not treated immediately, usually with emergency surgery.

Six cases were identified at one hospital system from March, 2011 to June, 2012. All six reported outdoor residential food grilling and use of commercially available wire grill-cleaning brushes. Injuries ranged from puncture of the soft tissues of the neck, causing severe pain when swallowing, to perforation of the gastrointestinal tract. Severe pain on swallowing was the chief symptom in three of the six patients. In all three of these patients, a wire bristle from a grill-cleaning brush was found in the neck. Two patients underwent emergency abdominal surgery to retrieve the foreign object and repair the intestine. In one patient, the wire had not perforated the intestine and was removed via colonoscopy.

TO PREVENT SUCH OCCURRENCES, before grilling, examine the grill surface carefully for bristles that may have dislodged from the brush and could then embed in cooked food.


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