Prepare your barbeque properly this summer, warn scientists

April 23, 2013 by Alex Peel
Prepare your barbeque properly this summer, warn scientists

As we break free from the shackles of an unusually long winter, thoughts may be turning towards that first barbecue of the summer. But before we lay down the season's first slab of meat, scientists are urging us to make sure that the smoke and flames have calmed and the coals are glowing red.

New research, published in Food Chemistry, shows that chargrilling meat over badly prepared coal may contaminate it with dangerous levels of chemicals that can cause cancer.

'Fat drips down as you cook the meat, lands on the coals, and produces smoke,' says Dr Mustafa Ozel of the University of York, one of the study's authors. 'The smoke then contaminates the meat with carcinogenic nitrosamine chemicals,'

'If you're going to barbecue meat, make sure the charcoal is ready and has stopped smoking, choose low fat meat and make sure it's cooked, but don't cook it for too long.'

The research is the result of a long-running collaboration between and food scientists at the University of York.

The team, led by Professor Fahrettin Gogus of the University of Gaziantep, used technology originally developed for measuring chemicals in the atmosphere to measure concentrations of six in lamb grilled over ready and unready charcoal.

They find a substantial increase in carcinogens in meat cooked over charcoal that is still smoking and flaming. Meat with higher fat content, and meat that was cooked for longer, also contained more of the chemicals.

But Professor Ally Lewis, of NERC's National Centre for , says more work would be needed to draw relationships between chemical levels in the meat and real health effects.

'You'd need to do work on people's real to see what effect the exposure might be having,' he says. 'But, using this technology that was developed for , we've been able to identify these specific chemicals in food for the first time.'

'It shows just how valuable mixing researchers from different disciplines in the same lab can be, and the enormous potential for wider applications of environmental research.'

Explore further: Incidences and severity of prostate cancer correlated with meat consumption: study

More information: Kocak, D. et al. Determination of volatile nitrosamines in grilled lamb and vegetables using comprehensive gas chromatography - Nitrogen chemiluminescence detection, Food Chemistry, 2012.

Related Stories

Incidences and severity of prostate cancer correlated with meat consumption: study

November 23, 2011
Increased consumption of ground beef or processed meat is positively associated with aggressive prostate cancer, according to a study published Nov. 23 in the online journal PLoS ONE.

Pan-fried meat increases risk of prostate cancer, new study finds

August 16, 2012
Research from the University of Southern California (USC) and Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC) found that cooking red meats at high temperatures, especially pan-fried red meats, may increase the risk of advanced ...

Study finds red meat may increase colon polyp risk

October 3, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Cancer investigators from Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center (Tennessee Valley Health System in Nashville) have found that eating a steady diet of red or processed ...

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.