Little Known Barbecue Health Risks

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Labor Day is our last best attempt to grab fun out of the summer.

A Labor Day barbecue would be nothing without the smell of the grill.

According to health officials there are risks associated with grilling that you need to be aware of.

Let me use cooking hamburgers as an example.

The problem is the fine balance between cooking burgers long enough to protect against bacterial contamination, and not cooking them long enough to produce high amounts of HCAS, or heterocyclic amines.

HCAS are human carcinogens, but there are ways that you can cut down on these harmful chemicals.

One option is to marinate the meat first in a sugar, oil, and vinegar mixture. The other suggestion is very inventive.

If you cook with tart cherry you can actually reduce the amines as well.

Now this is a great deal of information that certainly could get you quite upset-and it is extremely important if you were to barbecue every day.

However, for one day celebrating with family and friends, I would not worry about this.

It is actually more important to coat the burgers long enough to protect against bacterial contamination.

More from Dr. Brian McDonough

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