A cottager north of Peterborough is urging others to toss out wire-bristled barbecue brushes after he accidentally swallowed a bristle last week.
Rob Rocan is recovering from emergency surgery after a metal bristle from a barbecue brush ended up in his stomach.
“It felt like my appendix was going to burst,” said Rocan, a cottager in Buckhorn, about 30 kilometres north of Peterborough, Ont.
“By Wednesday, I was doubled over getting out of bed and I did all I could do to drive myself to the hospital in Peterborough.”
X-rays revealed a small sliver of metal in his lower intestine. Doctors told him this was one of multiple cases in recent weeks.
“The surgeon came in to talk to me and she said this comes in threes,” said Rocan. “She told me I was the third case she’s had to operate on in recent weeks.”
Caren McSherry, president of the Gourmet Warehouse, says there are other safer options such as bound-steel brushes to clean a barbecue grill.
“This is actually critical that you know this, that the bristles will come off on the grill piece and the next time you go to cook there is a chance it could get lodged into the food and consequently into your throat,” she said.
Rocan has filed a complaint with Walmart where he bought the brush and has contacted Health Canada asking that such products be removed from store shelves.
“Anything with the wire bristles that can fall out are a health hazard,” he said. “This is the barbecue scraper that is going to be going into the garbage.”
Health Canada says it is looking into the issue and is encouraging people to throw away any brushes that are older than a year.