News or Noise: Online posts claim Moscow Mule mugs are poisoning you

August 16, 2017 11:35 PM

In News or Noise, Jennifer Mobilia sorts through the nonsense on social media to determine what's real and what's fake.

An online post claims that mugs used for Moscow Mule could be poisoning drinkers. But is it News or Noise?

The drink, a beverage that mixes vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, is traditionally served in a cool signature copper mug. Earlier this month, several reports surfaced after public health authorities in Iowa said drinking alcoholic beverages in copper mugs could be putting your health at risk.

Those reports are stemming from this July 28th advisory bulletin from Iowa's Division of Alcoholic Beverages – specifically addressing Moscow Mule copper mugs.

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The advisory warns the State of Iowa, "as well as many other states, has adopted the federal Food and Drug Administration's Model Food Code, which prohibits copper from coming into direct contact with foods that have a pH below 6.0."

The advisory goes on to say, "The pH of a traditional Moscow Mule is well below 6.0. This means that copper mugs that have a copper interior may not be used with this beverage."

That's because Iowa health officials say, "High concentrations of copper are poisonous and have caused foodborne illness. When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food."

However, there is a silver lining – no pun intended. According to the bulletin, "Copper mugs lined on the interior with another metal, such as nickel or stainless steel, are allowed to be used and are widely available."

According to this Cleveland Clinic article, Moscow Mules have been around for some time, and we haven't seen any issues. The symptoms reported: stomach pain, diarrhea, vomiting and even skin yellowing — can be attributed to many other conditions.

So like many things – Moscow Mules in moderation won't kill you. Just make sure you NEVER drink and drive. So when you see your buddies sharing this social media post – know it's 50-50.


Jennifer Mobilia

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