That copper mug you're drinking out of could be poisoning you

Moscow mule fans, beware.
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Be careful with the type of mug you're drinking your Moscow mule out of. 

Those trendy copper mugs that are popular to sip the vodka-ginger beer-lime juice concoction out of could actually be poisoning you. 

This has been making headlines recently due to an advisory issued in late July by the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, over the recent surge in popularity of Moscow mules.

The advisory reminds people about the FDA's Model Food Code that Iowa – and many other states – have adopted. 

The code prohibits copper and copper alloys like brass from coming into contact with acidic foods (foods that have a pH below 6.0) like vinegar, fruit juice, wine, and – you guessed it – Moscow mules. 

The advisory says the drink typically has a pH "well below" 6.0, so those trendy copper mugs "may not be used" when serving a Moscow mule. 

This is because when copper comes into contact with acidic products it can cause the copper to leach into the food, which could make you sick (more on this below).

But don't worry – you don't have to give up the Instagram-worthy mugs to serve Moscow mules. Just make sure you buy one that's lined on the inside with another metal (like nickel or stainless steel).

The advisory says these mugs are OK and are "widely available." Phew. 

GoMN has reached out to the Minnesota Department of Health for information on its stance of the use of copper mugs. We'll update this story when we hear back. 

More on copper poisoning

Copper occurs naturally in all plants and animals, and it's essential for all living organisms – including humans, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says

But problems occur when people get too much copper, which can result in copper toxicity or copper poisoning. 

The symptoms of this include abdominal pain, diarrhea, vomiting and jaundice, the National Institutes of Health says

"Sudden (acute) copper poisoning is rare," the National Institutes of Health notes, but serious health problems are possible if someone has long-term exposure to copper, including liver failure and death.

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