Moscow Mule Copper Mug May Cause Food Poisoning

Moscow Mule Copper Mug May Cause Food Poisoning

The next time you order a Kentucky mule or a Moscow mule in those fancy copper mugs, you might want to reconsider.

However, while the cocktail looks and tastes great, a warning from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division suggests the mugs may actually be unsafe to use for the Moscow mule.

Health officials said establishments in Iowa can no longer use the signature copper mug to serve the cocktail unless they are lined with another material. That includes liquids like fruit juice, vinegar, wine and Moscow Mule cocktails. Traditionally, Moscow mules contain vodka, ginger beer and lime and have a pH well below 6.0.

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The Alcoholic Beverages Division reminds businesses they can not serve Moscow Mules in mugs with a copper interior. It's not the actual beverage that makes it so iconic, but the flashy copper mug that is nearly always used to serve it.

The Food and Drug Administration prohibits copper from coming into direct contact with acidic foods with a pH below 6.0. Besides posing health threats, using cookware made of reactive metals such as copper, aluminum, iron and steel are also known to have unwanted effect on the food. The symptoms of copper poisoning include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Because the pH level is so low in mule, the copper may leach into the drink and cause illness.

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