Moscow Mule mugs banned in Iowa over copper poisoning fears

Moscow Mule

Health officials are warning people that those popular copper mugs that Moscow Mules come in could be poisoning you.

The Alcoholic Beverages Division of the State of Iowa is concerned with the interaction of those contents with the copper mug and issued an advisory bulletin in late July to warn of potential health risks.

High concentrations of copper are poisonous and have caused foodborne illness. Iowa follows the Food and Drug Administration's code that prohibits copper from coming into direct contact with acidic foods with a pH below 6.0, including Moscow Mules.

Mugs aren't the only place where copper might be able to leach into acidic foods.

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"The pH of a traditional Moscow Mule is well below 6.0", the ABD said of the drink typically made with lime juice, vodka and ginger beer. It's not the actual beverage that makes it so iconic, but the flashy copper mug that is nearly always used to serve it.

Folks might not think about the pH level of their Moscow Mule or other beverages when serving drinks in fancy copper cups, but since the Moscow Mule has a pH level well below 6.0, the copper mug should be avoided. The symptoms of copper poisoning include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

It's the shiny copper mug in which the cocktail is typically served.

Over time, Business Insider says that copper exposure can damage the liver and kidneys.

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