Copper mugs could be poisoning Moscow Mules, according to health officials

Moscow Mule - made with vodka, ginger beer, lime juice, and typically placed in a copper mug (Photo: ABC News)

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- For all you Moscow Mule lovers, there's a health warning about the copper mugs the drink is typically served in.

Health officials warn the classic combination could lead to food poisoning.

The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division recently issued an advisory bulletin to establishments that sell and serve alcoholic beverages, warning them not to use copper mugs.

They said using copper mugs to serve drinks with a pH balance below 6.0 could cause copper to leach into the drink.

A Moscow Mule is made with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice, and its pH balance is well below 6.0, according to the bulletin; other examples include fruit juice and wine.

“When copper and copper alloy surfaces contact acidic foods, copper may be leached into the food,” the bulletin included. “High concentrations of copper are poisonous and have caused foodborne illness.”

Establishments in Iowa are now not allowed to use the copper mug to serve a Moscow Mule, unless they are lined with something else.

“Mugs that have a copper interior may not be used with this beverage. 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," the bulletin read.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, consuming large amounts of copper may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting, and jaundice.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off