Before you chow down on that barbecued cheeseburger, it might be worth checking how your food’s grilling surface was cleaned. Public health experts are bringing attention to a growing number of health complications caused by grill brushes’ wire bristles turning up in meat (followed by making their way into people's intestines, perforating the walls and settling into the liver—yuck!).
"If [bristles] gets to your intestine and then perforates through the wall of your intestine, that is scary,” Dr. David Grand, associate professor of diagnostic imaging at the Warren Alpert School of Medicine at Brown University. “We saw one migrate into the liver and cause a liver infection that had to be treated, and we've had bristles that pierced the intestines at multiple points and had to be retrieved surgically."
This past May, a Connecticut woman needed emergency surgery after it was found that a stray bristle ended up in a hamburger she ate. Within a day after eating the hamburger the woman went to the emergency room after complaining of severe abdominal pain. A CT scan revealed the wire in her digestive tract, resulting in the need for surgery, according to CBS News.
Bristles are often missed on a CT scan because they’re so thin. That said, we recommend opting for grill-cleaning stones or bricks and bristle-free brushes made of metal or nylon over the wire alternatives. Also, if you experience any severe abdominal pain within a day of eating grilled meat, call your doctor immediately. Do you have any other safe-practice grilling tips? Share them with us in the comments!