When Chester Poole sat down to devour a juicy burger straight off the barbecue recently, he was expecting to chomp down on the familiar taste of grilled meat.
What he experienced instead, was a sharp pain in his throat and a trip to the emergency room.
It turns out the Yarmouth, N.S. man had accidentally swallowed a hair-thin metal wire from his barbecue brush that found its way into the burger.
Poole told CTV Atlantic on Thursday that he immediately went to the hospital where he was told to avoid drinking or eating until he could see an ear, nose and throat specialist in Halifax the next day.
“The doctor came in and he said, ‘I want to be brutally honest with you,’” Poole recounted. “He said, ‘There is one chance in 100 that I am even going to find this.”
The doctor who examined Poole’s throat, Dr. Tim Brown, said he generally sees a couple of similar cases every year.
“It is a tiny little needle and if you think of the neck as a haystack they can get lodged anywhere between the mouth and all the way down to the throat and even further, so finding it in soft tissue back there, this tiny little filament, can sometimes be almost a mission impossible,” Dr. Brown said.
Despite the slim odds, Dr. Brown was able to locate and remove the pin-sized metal bristle from Poole’s throat.
Health Canada has issued a safety warning online about barbecue brushes. The government agency recommends Canadians regularly inspect their brushes before each use and throw them away if they notice the bristles are loose or sticking to the grill.
“The metal bristles on your BBQ brush can become loose over time and get stuck to the grill during cleaning. This could result in the bristles getting transferred to the food and potentially being swallowed,” Health Canada said.
Poole contends that his barbecue brush wasn’t even that old or well-worn when he swallowed the bristle.
“If you’re not concerned about yourself, I think you should be concerned about your kids, grandkids, even church groups that have church barbecues,” he said.
The Yarmouth man said he won’t be using another wire barbecue brush in the future and has since switched his previous one with a wooden scraper instead.
With a report from CTV Atlantic’s Kelland Sundahl