The arrival of the annual grilling season users sparks enthusiasm for the taste of grilled meats – and occasional questions about grilling safety, particularly claims by some that grilling meat poses a cancer risk. A new Meat MythCrusher video from the North American Meat Institute and American Meat Science Association (AMSA) featuring Kansas State associate professor Travis O’Quinn, Ph.D., addresses these concerns and the science surrounding meat grilling.
In the new video, O’Quinn explains that while it’s possible for compounds like heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to form while grilling meat, the levels are much lower than those that have been shown to be risky and simple steps can reduce their formation.
“In the amounts that we consume, grilling meat is not a cancer risk,” said Dr. O’Quinn. “Studies in animals fed amounts thousands of times higher than human exposure have shown some risk, however research has not shown this in amounts people consume.”
Dr. O’Quinn also explains the variety of steps people can take to reduce their exposure to HCAs and PAHs.
“Research has shown that marinating meat products virtually eliminates formation of heterocyclic amines. Seasoning meat with spices like pepper, oregano and garlic has a similar affect,” O’Quinn said.
Avoiding charring meat on the grill is also an effective strategy for reducing PAH formation.
The Meat MythCrusher video is the 53nd in the series jointly produced by the Meat Institute and AMSA. The videos feature interviews with meat scientists and other prominent experts on the most common myths surrounding meat and poultry production and processing. Altogether they have been viewed more than 300,000 times and Meat MythCrusher printed brochures have been handed out to thousands of health, culinary and industry professionals around the country. Other recent topics include myths surrounding meat and cancer research and the role of prepared meat products in a healthy diet.