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Wire Grill Cleaning Brushes Can Pose Food Safety Hazard

Wire grill cleaning brushes have commonly been used to clean barbeque grills. However, recently, more and more instances are arising where wire bristles from grill cleaning brushes have fallen off the brush, unsuspectingly finding their way into peoples’ foods and down their throats. This is potentially a very dangerous hazard.

The reported instances also seem to be on the rise since a number of major manufacturers have moved their manufacturing facilities to China.

During the summer of 2012, it was reported that a number of people went to the hospital with internal injuries from wire bristles lodged in their necks or stomachs, according to the morbidity and mortality weekly report, published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (July 6, 2012) these metal grill brush wires may cause extensive internal damage either in the throat, or potentially the stomach or intestinal wall.

“Awareness of this potential injury among health care professionals is critical to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment,” says the report.

CDC also warned retailers and urged retailers to examine brush designs to minimize the likelihood of pieces coming loose.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is currently studying data on injuries related to wire grill brushes. Recently, Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) called on the CPSC and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to review whether metal grill brushes are safe for consumer use, after reports that some metal bristles broke off a brush and were swallowed sending people to the hospital. Senator Schumer also asked these agencies to evaluate whether manufacturers or importers have failed to report product safety related information as required by law.

Consumers should avoid using wire grill brushes because of the safety hazard of wires coming off and finding their way into peoples’ foods. There are safer alternatives including such things as brillo or SOS pads or grill scrubbers that rely on synthetic pads to provide scouring or scrubbing action.