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Published: Thu, August 10, 2017
Medical | By Garry George

Your Moscow Mule Mug May Be Poisoning You

Your Moscow Mule Mug May Be Poisoning You

Having a drink in a copper mug might look aesthetically appealing, but it can also turn out to be fatal. If you can not give up the fancy way to serve the cocktail, there is still a solution.

So why were we putting Moscow Mules into copper mugs in the first place?

Drinking from copper mugs may cause poisoning.

The traditional Moscow Mule is prepared with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. A Moscow Mule, as well as wine, fruit juice, and vinegar, have a pH of less than 6.0.

The Food and Drug Administration's Food Code, which provides food safety regulations, states that copper shouldn't come into contact with foods with a pH lower than 6.

And as the Moscow mule lovers out there will attest, ordering one of these Russian-inspired (but Hollywood created) beverages usually comes in a pretty, copper cup. The code says copper is prohibited from coming into direct contact with foods with a pH below 6.0.

The FDA issued an advisory against using copper mugs - generally used with Moscow mules - saying the copper may leach into the food.

Copper naturally occurs in the environment, and some exposure can be good for your health. Copper poisoning symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and jaundice. It's not the actual beverage that makes it so iconic, but the flashy copper mug that is nearly always used to serve it. According to the same statement, liquids from copper mugs with an inner lining of nickel, stainless steel or another metal are safe to consume.

For more information on copper poisoning, you can call the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO or visit the CDC's website on copper. The drink, and variations of it, are popular on bar menus across New Orleans.

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