The perfect summer’s evening: a barbecue with friends in the park. Meat, fish, and vegetables, sizzling away in the tray on the grill. But just a moment: isn’t that maybe hazardous for your health, or is it perfectly safe? A fact check
We thank the GDA for providing this text. You can find the original german version on alles über Alu.
In principle it’s not been possible so far to prove that barbecuing with aluminium trays poses a health risk. On the contrary: grilling trays made of aluminium offer the consumer protection against carcinogenic substances, so-called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. These occur when the grilled food is placed directly on the barbecue and the oil from the marinade drips onto the coals or the heating coil of the electric grill. The fear that the metal itself migrates from the aluminium grilling tray into the foods is also unfounded: aluminium grilling trays release aluminium into the grilled food only when it’s been basted in an acidic marinade or it’s been well salted.
This is why consumers find this or similar information on the packaging materials and labels inserted with disposable grilling trays: “Aluminium trays should not come into contact with acid- or salt-containing foods – they may dissolve in such cases.” The purpose of this is to ensure that the migration limit of five milligrams per kilogram of food defined by the European Council as a precautionary measure is not exceeded.
If you want to be entirely on the safe side, you should season your food only after it’s been grilled and refrain from using acidic marinades. One thing is clear: when aluminium tray are properly used, BBQ aficionados can enjoy the grilling season without any worries. And if by chance you do occasionally barbecue acidic or salty food on a grilling tray, you don’t have to fear any immediate consequences for your health.
“The use of aluminium grilling trays can protect your health.”
Dr Ulrich Nehring, certified food chemist