Many have been feeling a little bit of a headache when drinking Moscow Mules. This cocktail is served in a copper mug, and it is common for whoever drinks it to start feeling sick.

But it is not some drug that poisoned the drink, or the excessive alcohol with which the cocktail is prepared. The exact reason is the copper, as it should not touch foods that have a pH below 6.0.

Drinking from copper mugs may cause poisoning. Image Credit: Willow & Everett
Drinking from copper mugs may cause poisoning. Image Credit: Willow & Everett

The State of Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division released a statement on July reminding the federal guidelines for foods coming in contact with copper and copper alloys.

Copper and foods with a pH below 6.0 are hazardous

This is known by experts, and it is even prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration’s Moral Food Code. It is unlawful to put together foods that have a pH below 6.0 in any cup, plate, fork, or other objects that made out of copper.

The declarations of these events took place after the Alcoholic Beverages Division examined the poisonous nature of copper and copper alloys mixed with food.

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

Which drinks are affected by copper

Usually, the liquids with a pH below 6.0 include vinegar, fruit juice, and wine. When preparing these kinds of cocktails, like the Moscow Mule, for example, the drink is served in a mug of copper, along with lime juice. This exact drink has risen in popularity in social media.

The traditional Moscow Mule is prepared with vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. Social media users make the drink look perfect for a relaxing day at the beach.

Of course, leaving outside the exquisite savor of the drink, the copper mug plays well for showing up in a picture. The not-so-cool thing is the headache that comes after drinking the brew.

Copper is naturally within the environment, and sometimes it can be good for your health.  According to the National Institutes of Health, consuming large amounts of copper may cause nausea, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain, yellow skin (jaundice), and irritation to your mouth, nose, and eyes.

“Sudden (acute) copper poisoning is rare,” NIH says. “However, serious health problems from long-term exposure to copper can occur. Severe poisoning can cause liver failure and death.”

Not all copper cups will poison you. You will be safe with those lined with other metals like stainless steel or nickel.

For more information on copper poisoning, you can call the CDC at 800-CDC-INFO or visit the CDC’s website on copper.

Source: WebMD