The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has urged consumers to be careful when purchasing barbecue wire meshes and to choose ones that are smooth and shiny, to avoid dissolution of heavy metals during use.
Ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival (中秋節) on Saturday, the FDA recently conducted a heavy metal dissolution test on nine different barbecue wire meshes to find out whether they adhered to food safety regulations.
The FDA tested barbecue wire meshes made of different metals, such as stainless steel, zinc-coating and iron. The price of the samples ranged between NT$13 and NT$199.
The sample tests included roasting pork chops that had been marinated in soy sauce overnight. After being roasted, the cuts of meat were tested for heavy metals, such as lead, cadmium, chromium and zinc, the FDA said.
It added that a control test was done by roasting pork chops in a regular oven.
Test results showed that use of different barbecue wires led to different levels of zinc residue in the roasted pork chops.
Zinc levels in seven barbecued meat samples were about the same as the oven-roasted test group, but two samples had higher levels, the FDA said.
Although the levels of zinc of all the meat samples were within the safety limits, the two pieces of meat which were found to have elevated levels of zinc were roasted on barbecue wire meshes that looked rough and dull metal.
The FDA said most barbecue wires are coated with metal materials and when exposed to acidic foods, these metal substances can dissolve into the food.
Therefore, it is best to carefully read product labels when selecting barbecue wires and to avoid buying wires that do not have labels or look rough or dull, it said.