I recently read an article sent to me by a family member with the provocative title “Mom Cleans Grill, Cooks Burgers, and Son Nearly Dies”. This title would get anyone’s attention and I am grateful for that! The story was about how one family, like many of ours, use metal bristle brushes to clean our grills and how these bristles can break off and get on our food. This is a warning to all Marylanders who love to grill throughout the year.

From grilling to a hospital trip

The boy in the story was very unlucky, but we can see how this could happen to anyone. An excerpt:

One summer, the Fiore family was enjoying the beautiful summer weather when they decided to light up their backyard grill and cook up some classic burgers for dinner. Mere seconds after taking a bite of his first burger, however, the Fiore’s six-year-old son, Anthony, immediately became violently ill. The family couldn’t tell what was wrong with Anthony, but rushed to the hospital for a terrifying night.

“We knew something was wrong and he was in extreme pain because he was crying,” Anthony’s mother, Naida, told the press.

“It felt like a needle,” Anthony told the Canadian Broadcasting Situation.

“From the time we had dinner to the time he had surgery, it was twelve hours later, because our journey started at the local hospital, and then we were transported to SickKids,” Nadia said.

The surgeons at SickKids were able to successfully dislodge a metal wire bristle from a barbecue grill cleaning brush from Anthony’s throat. Surgeons explained to the Fiores that encountering patients with these sorts of bristles lodged in their throats was not at all uncommon, and that the situation had a great likelihood of being fatal.

How we should clean our grill

In order to prevent such a frightening incident, it is advised that people only clean their grills with high heat or solid scrapers that have no chance of leaving behind tiny bristles or any fragments. Plastic or wooden bristle brushes are very commonplace in hardware stores, but these should be avoided at all costs. The risk to just too great to take a chance. With fairly pleasant weather for most of the year in Maryland, many of us grill year ’round.

Not just your backyard gill

Now the obvious question. What about other grills? What about group outings, parties, and public park grills?

Here is where we reach a big dilemma. What to do? Well, it is most prudent to bring your own cleaning device and make sure the grill is spotless before you put your food on it. As far as when others are cooking, just ask how they clean their grill before you eat their food. That is the only way to make a sound decision. The consequences may be catastrophic for those you love.

Grilling is fun in the outdoors, but safe grilling is essential to protect your family and friends. Think about these tips next time you visit your favorite Maryland park.

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