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Clamshell Grills Cook Fast, Safe Meats

Photo: Faith Peppers

UGA food scientists say grills with double-sided heating elements effectively kill harmful pathogens.
Add "cooking safer foods" to the lists of reasons to buy a clam-style indoor electric grill.

Television infomercials and former heavyweight champions guarantee these grills cook food quickly and reduce fat. But University of Georgia food scientists say their research shows they also kill harmful pathogens.

Food scientist Mark Harrison studied grills with double-sided heating elements as part of a study on fast-food cooking techniques.

"We actually looked at clamshell grills, ones with heating elements on top and bottom, to see if they kill pathogens faster than grills that heat just from beneath," he said. Harrison is a researcher with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.

Scientists Were Concerned

Food scientists were interested in comparing quick and slow cooking processes to see how they compare at killing harmful pathogens.

"Our studies found these grills heat the meat considerably faster and are still effective at killing pathogens like E. coli and listeria," Harrison said.

Many fast food restaurants use these clamshell grills for cooking hamburgers. "They heat the hamburger patties considerably faster and still eliminate harmful organisms," he said. "And now, similar types are available for home use."

(Sharon Omahen is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)

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