Officials warn against drinking Moscow mules from copper mugs

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Food experts have long known not to use copper, or copper-related pots and pans for cooking acidic recipes such as tomato sauce.

According to an advisory bulletin published late last month from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, copper mugs may be poisoning drinkers. When the copper or copper alloys come into contact with food or liquid with a pH below 6, the copper can leach into it.

The Moscow mule is an easy and refreshing cocktail for hot summer nights, but the Iowa Beverage Association is urging people who enjoy them to check their glasses.

A Moscow Mule cocktail served up in a copper mug.

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That includes vinegar, fruit juice, wine and a traditional Moscow Mule, whose PH is "well below 6.0." the bulletin says. This means that copper mugs that have a copper interior may not be used with this beverage.

No alcoholic drink may be more recognizable than the Moscow mule, and often it has nothing to do with the actual drink.

And, if you're drinking Moscow Mules at every meal, everyday, copper poisoning may be the least of your problems. "However, copper mugs lined on the interior with another metal, such as nickel or stainless steel, are allowed to be used and are widely available".

"In poisonings from a long-term buildup of copper in the body, the outcome depends on how much damage there is to the body's organs", the NIH said.