PDA

View Full Version : Cooking directly over wood fire make you sick?



Gambit McCrae
08-05-2014, 11:07
Ok so long story short the misses and I went camping last weekend and I cooked in the charcoal ring with the grate over it?

27977

And I got diarhea later that night (sat). I then again got it this morning, BAD pains.

Can cooking in direct contact with wood fires/ Smoke cause this to happen?

All meat was on ice and cooked completely.

peakbagger
08-05-2014, 11:13
The short answer is no, it does sound like you there was a contaminated surface somewhere and you got mild food poisoning. The timing is bit suspicious, it normally takes 12 to 24 hours to get food poisoning so it may have been something you ate earlier.

fiddlehead
08-05-2014, 11:20
I cooked on wood fires for years.
My first thru-hike in '77: our stove blew up and I couldn't afford another one, so, built fires every night.
Didn't get sick.

Then I got a zip stove and used it for a thru-hike or two.
Still prefer fires for cooking when I have time.

saltysack
08-05-2014, 11:22
Wouldn't be the case of Budweiser....:)

Gambit McCrae
08-05-2014, 11:37
Wouldn't be the case of Budweiser....:)

Ha possible :datz

I ate the leftovers yesterday for lunch, would have been about 15 hours after I ate it when it happened this morning. I would say it was a contaminated surface.

Just Bill
08-05-2014, 12:19
Unlikely the human race would have reached this point if cooking on a fire was an issue.
See my post in your other thread.

DandT40
08-05-2014, 12:35
We were at a state park campground last month and on their little newspaper they give you when you come in they said not to cook your food directly over the wood gathered or bought in the park. I don't know if it was an issue with the ash bore or some treatment for it or what. We did cook our food over the wood and everyone was just fine (for now!!! lol). But I was surprised to see that warning.

Gambit McCrae
08-05-2014, 12:44
Unlikely the human race would have reached this point if cooking on a fire was an issue.
See my post in your other thread.

:-? Didnt say it would kill you, just perhaps give you the runs, perhaps a particular kind of wood would cause this.

Just Bill
08-05-2014, 12:53
This is not a horribly uncommon issue for hikers- especially on the first day or two out-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runner%27s_diarrhea


Some highly resinous woods can impart a bad flavor (like cooking on lighter fluid).

When you cook on a fire- you should start a feeder fire, and scrape coals off to the side. Cooking on coals eliminates any possibility of plant issue, cooking on green wood is a common "camp griddle" but you need to know what wood to use. There is some truth to your line of thought for sure, but easily solved by building the right kind of cook fire. Just like your grill at home, you want coals, not fire to cook. Fire just chars and can build up soot and other chemicals you don't want to eat. Fire will burn before it cooks, leaving the middle of most meats undercooked and unsafe. Coals provide even heat and cook through without charring the outside.

Likely your problem was something else- but learning to build a good cookfire is a skill worth having.

Tipi Walter
08-05-2014, 12:56
On my last backpacking trip I burned alot of campfires and resorted to using dead rhododendron branches for firewood. It got me to thinking---if rhodo is poisonous to eat, is it dangerous to burn? Like poison ivy? Dead rhodo vs live rhodo??

http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpack-2014-Trips-152/22-Days-Pisgah-Holyland/i-7TDppj8/0/M/TRIP%20157%20372-M.jpg

OCDave
08-05-2014, 13:08
This is not a horribly uncommon issue for hikers- especially on the first day or two out-
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Runner%27s_diarrhea

Likely your problem was something else- ...

For me it is usually too many raisins in the trail mix.

daddytwosticks
08-05-2014, 15:46
If it was the campfire rings you tend to see at AT shelter sites (the ones with the grates attached), there's no telling what foul things previous users did or burned in that campfire. However, I would think the heat from a fire would sterilize any cooking surface like a grate. :)

lemon b
08-05-2014, 17:19
Never has happened to me. Guess it could depending on what get thrown on the fire. One does find the oddest thinks in firepits. Even seen types of insolation.

Tipi Walter
08-05-2014, 17:26
Never has happened to me. Guess it could depending on what get thrown on the fire. One does find the oddest thinks in firepits. Even seen types of insolation.

I found this wonderful sight on Slickrock Creek and left by fishermen.

http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpacking2002-2004/13-Backpacking-Trips-Of-2003/i-Q73B7wf/0/L/Trip%2021%20%202-L.jpg

TNhiker
08-05-2014, 17:39
i cook a filet mignon over an open fire most every time im out in the woods...

i tend to clear away the trash before my fire----and due to me cutting fire wood and what not---i generally dont cook til the fire is a few hours old..........

The Solemates
08-05-2014, 17:55
Ok so long story short the misses and I went camping last weekend and I cooked in the charcoal ring with the grate over it?

27977

And I got diarhea later that night (sat). I then again got it this morning, BAD pains.

Can cooking in direct contact with wood fires/ Smoke cause this to happen?

All meat was on ice and cooked completely.


On my last backpacking trip I burned alot of campfires and resorted to using dead rhododendron branches for firewood. It got me to thinking---if rhodo is poisonous to eat, is it dangerous to burn? Like poison ivy? Dead rhodo vs live rhodo??

http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpack-2014-Trips-152/22-Days-Pisgah-Holyland/i-7TDppj8/0/M/TRIP%20157%20372-M.jpg


This was going to be my response! Rhodo IS INDEED toxic to humans when burned. Some react worse than others. regardless, it doesnt bode well when mixed with the human lungs. We learned this the hard way over a decade ago. We were all sitting around the campfire for hours....firewood of choice? dead rhodadendron that was laying around. Long story short...I had only a mild reaction. My brother in law had serious complications, later contracted pneumonia because of it, and nearly had to be hospitalized!

rocketsocks
08-05-2014, 18:14
Well now, I didn't know Rhodo wood was toxic, burned or otherwise...learn somethin' new everyday here. :sun

Cadenza
08-05-2014, 21:25
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Is_rhododendron_a_good_wood_to_burn_in_a_fireplace

Kolo
08-05-2014, 21:46
http://www.library.illinois.edu/vex/toxic/rhodo/rhodo.htm

I knew it was not edible, but never thought about the danger of burning it.

rocketsocks
08-06-2014, 00:49
http://www.library.illinois.edu/vex/toxic/rhodo/rhodo.htm

I knew it was not edible, but never thought about the danger of burning it.
what a great resource...thanks.

Pedaling Fool
08-06-2014, 08:35
Well now, I didn't know Rhodo wood was toxic, burned or otherwise...learn somethin' new everyday here. :sunAnd honey made strickly from the flowers of Rhodo....

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/12/18/study-lsquomadrsquo-honey-sex-stimulant-sending-men-to-er-with-food-poisoning/


Excerpt:

"The honey, produced from the nectar of a particular rhododendron species, has long been linked to food poisoning, with most of the documented cases seen in Turkey. In the country's Black Sea region, mad honey is used as an alternative medicine for gastrointestinal problems and, more often, as a sexual stimulant.

Reporting in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Turkish researchers document 21 cases of mad-honey poisoning that passed through their ER over five years. Nearly all patients were middle-aged and older men a demographic that, according to local beekeepers, usually buys mad honey as a way to enhance sexual performance.

The problem with mad honey is its concentration of substances called grayanotoxins, some of which can cause low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, vomiting, dizziness and fainting.

In Turkey, most mad-honey buyers know they are getting a "special honey," and discuss possible side effects with the beekeepers selling it, according to Dr. Ahmet Demircan, of Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, the lead researcher on the new study."

martinb
08-06-2014, 09:18
This was going to be my response! Rhodo IS INDEED toxic to humans when burned. Some react worse than others. regardless, it doesnt bode well when mixed with the human lungs. We learned this the hard way over a decade ago. We were all sitting around the campfire for hours....firewood of choice? dead rhodadendron that was laying around. Long story short...I had only a mild reaction. My brother in law had serious complications, later contracted pneumonia because of it, and nearly had to be hospitalized!

Glad to find this out now rather than the hard way. I've never used it in the BC because of my suspicions about the smoke inhaling part.

Just Bill
08-06-2014, 10:32
That was my understanding with any toxic plant- the bark and inner bark- dead or green- are where any toxins lie or can be released. Primarily in the form of smoke.

Obviously- avoiding these wood species entirely is the best bet.

In a pinch- building a good cook fire with a feeder fire and only cooking on established coals solves 99% of this issue.

Sometimes it is what it is; either you are using what wood is available or you don't have an encyclopedic knowledge capable of identifying every species of dead wood.

Don't get me wrong- I wish I had that knowledge. But much easier to learn one thing- how to build a good cook fire, than learn to identify every type of wood. I'm sure somewhere on the planet there is an exception, but to the best of my knowledge on the subject- cooking on coals (not fire) is safe.

Lone Wolf
08-06-2014, 11:26
Ok so long story short the misses and I went camping last weekend and I cooked in the charcoal ring with the grate over it?

27977

And I got diarhea later that night (sat). I then again got it this morning, BAD pains.

Can cooking in direct contact with wood fires/ Smoke cause this to happen?

All meat was on ice and cooked completely.
i would NEVER cook over a fire in any AT fire pit. they're full of garbage and just plain nasty

Slo-go'en
08-06-2014, 11:46
This was going to be my response! Rhodo IS INDEED toxic to humans when burned.

That's what I also thought, but turns out burning it is okay, eating it is not. Breathing any wood smoke is not real good for you. I find it ironic that many hikers will have a fit if someone is smoking near-by, but don't have a problem breathing in the smoke from their smoldering wood fire, which is way worse.

PatmanTN
08-06-2014, 13:22
I’ve always known about the toxicity of the Rhodo leaves but would be interested to see a source regarding the core wood. I will admit that I once forgot to pack my usual spork for a five day trip and wound up whittling one from a dead Rhodo branch. I ate with that utensil for all five days and never had an issue (which may or may not mean anything I guess, but seemed germane).

Slo-go'en
08-06-2014, 16:00
I’ve always known about the toxicity of the Rhodo leaves but would be interested to see a source regarding the core wood. I will admit that I once forgot to pack my usual spork for a five day trip and wound up whittling one from a dead Rhodo branch. I ate with that utensil for all five days and never had an issue (which may or may not mean anything I guess, but seemed germane).

What little toxicity there is in branches is contained in the bark. Remove the bark and your fine.

Wise Old Owl
08-06-2014, 22:19
Nice post - honest the best part of coming here is you learn something every day!

rocketsocks
08-06-2014, 22:50
And honey made strickly from the flowers of Rhodo....

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2009/12/18/study-lsquomadrsquo-honey-sex-stimulant-sending-men-to-er-with-food-poisoning/


Excerpt:

"The honey, produced from the nectar of a particular rhododendron species, has long been linked to food poisoning, with most of the documented cases seen in Turkey. In the country's Black Sea region, mad honey is used as an alternative medicine for gastrointestinal problems and, more often, as a sexual stimulant.

Reporting in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, Turkish researchers document 21 cases of mad-honey poisoning that passed through their ER over five years. Nearly all patients were middle-aged and older men — a demographic that, according to local beekeepers, usually buys mad honey as a way to enhance sexual performance.

The problem with mad honey is its concentration of substances called grayanotoxins, some of which can cause low blood pressure, slowed heart rate, vomiting, dizziness and fainting.

In Turkey, most mad-honey buyers know they are getting a "special honey," and discuss possible side effects with the beekeepers selling it, according to Dr. Ahmet Demircan, of Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, the lead researcher on the new study."
Well MaGoo, you've done it again...interesting find.

rocketsocks
08-06-2014, 22:59
I guess no thread about cooking over a wood fire would be complete without mentioning smoking meats and carcinogens.



http://paleohacks.com/questions/174156/does-smoking-a-food-make-it-carcinogenic.html

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed by the incomplete combustion of organic matter. A number of PAHs are carcinogenic and mutagenic. Certain cooking processes can form PAHs. The major dietary sources of PAHs are cereals and vegetables, rather than meat, except where there is high consumption of meat cooked over an open flame. If the meat is in direct contact with the flame, pyrolysis of the fats in the meat generates PAHs that can become deposited on the meat (source) (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1383574299000162). You can reduce PAH production by cooking for longer periods at lower temperatures.
The most carcinogenic PAHs are the ones with 5- and 6- fused rings (a major one being benzo[a]pyrene).


http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/wat/wq/BCguidelines/pahs/figures/figure1pah.jpg

Dedicated Hanger
08-08-2014, 11:41
Do you use any wood like hemlock or rhododen when preparing your fire? Both of these woods have some toxic properties.

rocketsocks
08-08-2014, 11:57
Do you use any wood like hemlock or rhododen when preparing your fire? Both of these woods have some toxic properties.
You don't say? :D I'm just jokin' with ya Dedicated Hanger, and I'm guilty of this as well, not reading the thread...but the last two pages are about that very thing...just funnin ya.:)

incidentally I didn't know this prior to readin' this thread, I think the conscience is that it's the outer bark that holds the toxins...though I wouldn't want to test that theory.

oh, and I don't think hemlock was mentioned.

simeo
08-08-2014, 14:52
As everybody else stated: Cooking over a fire would not cause diarrhea. If anything it would kill any bacteria which would cause the diarrhea.

What is dangerous is the smoke from burning poisonous plants and if you didn't sufficiently sanitize your utensils or purify your water.

What would stop diarrhea and remove any food poison is charcoal. Take a small amount (about 1/2 tbs) of black, pure charcoal from a hardwood preferably, crush it to powder and swallow it with lots of (pure) water. Even straight from freshly burned (and cooled) wood. The charcoal will remove the toxins and stop your food poisoning. The next day or even later in the day your diarrhea will be clear.

We use the charcoal trick every time and it works every time. ;)