Study Shows BBQ Enameled Grills Are Releasing Unsafe Levels of Heavy Metals into Food

Top Quote The German Federal Agency of Risk Assessment (BfR) has published the results of its investigation into the release of heavy metals into food during preparation on enameled cooking grates. Published on July 26, 2018, Opinion 024/2018 showed that several products released unsafe amounts of nickel and arsenic. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) August 21, 2018 - The enamel layer is often added to grates made from steel or cast iron in order to protect against corrosion. The enamel is a glassy solidified melt of silicates and oxides of different metals. It can contain aluminum or antimony, but may also contain arsenic, lead, cadmium, chromium, iron, cobalt, lithium and/or nickel.

    The research into enameled barbecue (BBQ) cooking grates was conducted using market surveillance authorities in the federal states of Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia in 2017. The investigations sought to find out if, and to what extent, the grates set metallic elements of the enamel layer free and transferred them into the food during the roasting process.

    The BfR appraised the available data concerned with a large selection of marketed BBQs, looking for evidence of the release of aluminum, antimony, arsenic, lead, cadmium, chromium, iron, cobalt, lithium and nickel into different food simulants. The study used acetic and citric acid, and artificial tap water as applied simulants.

    The results showed that in the case of some cooking grates the level of release for aluminum, antimony, arsenic and nickel would be counted as significant. In other examples, the release was found to be acceptable. The assessment by the BfR considered these results in terms of possible health risks. Since there are currently no legally binding maximum quantities, the BfR determined the acceptable exposure values on the basis of what the human body could absorb without compromising health. The conclusion from this was that several cooking grates allowed intolerable exposure, with the release of nickel and arsenic being significant enough to endanger human health.

    It can be surmised that the difference between those grates with low release rates and those with high release rates is the difference between manufacturers that do and do not follow good manufacturing practices (GMP). Manufacturers of BBQs making use of enameled cooking grates are therefore advised to consider the possible causes allowing the release of heavy metals, and are encouraged to take suitable measures to rectify the problem.

    SGS Home Furnishings & Houseware Services
    SGS’s technical experts have extensive experience of testing materials and articles in contact with food. They can ensure that your products meet the appropriate regulations for food contact materials and pave the way for compliance. SGS offers the full range of testing, including migration tests, along with expert advice on emerging regulations, compliance issues and documentation review. Learn more about SGS’s Home Furnishings & Houseware Services. []

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    For further information contact:

    Udo Krischke
    Global Technical Manager RSTS
    Tel: +49 6128 744 235
    Email: ( @ ) sgs dot com

    About SGS
    SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 95,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 2,400 offices and laboratories around the world.

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