penders - 6:50 pm on Feb 20, 2012 (gmt 0)
The use of commas and such in Meta are, in my opinion, moot anyway.
Well maybe, but the description is intended to be a human readable description since it's not used by the search engines for indexing. I quite like httpwebwitch's suggestion above to use iconv()... something like...
$plainDescription = iconv('UTF-8', 'ASCII//IGNORE', $description);