Barbecue season is in full effect, but a new report suggests many to beware of the bristle from grill cleaning brushes.

Although wire bristle is not what is on the average person’s mind while consuming barbecue food, a new report displays in some cases the metal bristle can become stuck in the grill, which in turn can be embedded in foods such as steak, and burgers.

It has been reported that in mostly all cases patients were consuming burgers, steaks or other meaty products cooked on a grill that was freshly cleaned. Patients quickly grew sick and felt significant pain in the neck and abdominal area. Once at the hospital imaging testing displayed small wire bristles were lodged in their bodies.

Dr. David Grand, the author of the report and radiologist in the diagnostic imaging department at Rhode Island Hospital, where all of these cases were handled, stated "it has only been meat so far." He also published a comparable study in April that detailed another occurrence between May 2009 and November 2010.

Although the amount of cases are still moderately low, six new cases included men and women between the ages of 21 and 64 with symptoms that involved pain and trouble swallowing or critical abdominal pain. Imaging tests revealed bristles lodged in the throat, stomach and/or intestines. One patient had bristles that had to be moved with a colonoscope, another patient had bristle lodged so deep in his intestine's wall that it had to be surgical removed.  

Though none of these cases became life-threatening, patients did undergo uncomfortable procedures to remove the bristles.

There also have been a few reports in places other than Rhode Island such ad Philadelphia, Pa and Kansas City, Kan.

Dr. Grand believes it is more common than many suspected. He also urges doctors to report any new cases to saferproducts.org.

According to Dr. Grand here are a few tips to avoid being the next patient:

  • Throw out old or worn metal brushes
  • Look for different ways to clean the grates
  • If the grill was recently cleaned with a wire brush, inspect the grill before lighting it or cooking on it.