Unlined Copper Mugs
These Classic Beauties Received Some Unfair Bad Press Recently
Several news organizations recently published articles citing 2013 FDA Food Code guidance [PDF P. 143] that restricts acidic substances from coming into direct contact with copper.
We would like to point out a few things not mentioned in the news:
- The FDA restriction ONLY applies to restaurants, bars and food service operations and not to individuals at home.
Why this detail is important. These entities serve Moscow Mule drinks and other acidic cocktails on a continuous basis. Continuous use without proper cleaning likely causes erosion of the mugs over time – most restaurants/bars are simply not able to properly care for unlined copper mugs. In other words, they may not wash and thoroughly dry the mugs after each use, like individuals do at home (we provide detailed care instructions with each purchase).
High-maintenance artisanal objects, such as unlined copper mugs, simply do not belong in commercial environments where they are required to be “work horses”. We agree.
- Per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), existing studies show that the most common effect of too much copper is nausea/vomiting.
This occurs shortly after ingesting a substance with too much copper, and is "not persistent”.
Quite a few Moscow Mules would need to be consumed, and they would likely have to sit in the mug for extended periods for high levels of copper to leach into the drink. Of course, following the cleaning instructions that accompanied the mug will help minimize any risk of copper leaching into anyone’s drink.
- Copper vessels have been used for their health benefits for thousands of years.
In India and other countries that practice Ayurveda, water is stored in copper vessels for 12-16 hours so that enough copper is transferred to the water, and so that any bacteria in the water is killed. The anti-inflammatory effects of moderate amounts of copper are also well known in these countries. We require copper for many bodily functions. The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has developed recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) of 900 µg/day for adults to maintain health.
- Occasional use of unlined copper mugs is unlikely to pose a health risk.
Snopes, the well-known resource for validating and debunking news stories, wrote on August 10th, 2017: “News articles exaggerate the health risks associated with normal consumption of cocktails such as the popular Moscow Mule". We recommend you read their conclusions before you form an opinion.
We do not believe that the occasional Moscow Mule drinker should be concerned with this restriction as it applies to heavy continuous copper mug users (bars/restaurants) who don’t wash and dry the mugs immediately after each use.
While we continue to prefer and recommend unlined pure copper mugs to our clients, if you are concerned about the recent headlines, then the Copper & Stainless Steel LINED Double Wall Mug Gift Set is the best option for you.