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Lead in vinegar warning

  1. Jul 21, 2008 #1

    Math Is Hard

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    I was just about to spoon some vinagrette onto my salad today when I see this big warning from the State of California that balsamic vinegar products contain lead. How the heck is lead getting into my salad dressing? This is the first time I've ever seen this. Are other U.S. states putting out this warning?
     
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  3. Jul 21, 2008 #2

    turbo

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    The deal is Prop 65. Lead can get into grapes from the soil in which they are grown, and the grape juice is concentrated to make vinegar. It is unlikely that there is enough lead in the vinegar to harm you. You can buy a lead test kit to verify that, though.
     
  4. Jul 21, 2008 #3

    Evo

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    Is there going to be anything left that Californian's can eat?

    Anthony Bourdain was asked why he could travel the world eating in what Americans consider filthy conditions and not get sick. He said he believed part of it was due to the fact that he didn't grow up in a sterile bubble.
     
  5. Jul 21, 2008 #4

    Math Is Hard

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    Thanks, turbo.

    Tell me about it! I'm going to starve out here.

    I found an article about a lawsuit that seems to have started this:
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2004/02/25/MNGIK57OJ11.DTL

    It seems that an environmental group thinks the lead gets in during the manufacturing

    but others say the lead is just coming through the soil, as turbo described.

     
  6. Jul 21, 2008 #5

    Moonbear

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    Apparently, living in CA causes cancer, which is why they have to have those signs on EVERYTHING there. :rolleyes: Move back east, MIH. We aren't afraid of our food over on this side of the country.
     
  7. Jul 21, 2008 #6

    turbo

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    My acidic apples, berries, tomatoes and Concord grapes are probably slurping up mercury, lead and cadmium from the soil, but I'm going to keep eating them. They taste great.

    I guess simmering my tomatoes all day to make my from-scratch pizza sauce would cause the heavy metals to concentrate. Sorry California! No gourmet pizza sauce for you.
     
  8. Jul 21, 2008 #7

    Evo

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    How absurd can you get? Someone needs to sue these people for stupid lawsuits that end up raising our costs for food.

    :uhh:

    Did they test the soil where the grapes are grown? No.

    Did it occur to them that as a bunch of "environmentalist lawyers" that they aren't qualified to understand test results or what would be valid tests to determine where trace minerals come from? No.

    They automatically assumed since different batches grown in different areas show different amounts of trace minerals that it's "because of manufacturing", yeah that would have been my first guess. :rolleyes:

    I'm wondering if they even know what balsamic vinegar is. Some "balsamic" vinegar on the market is mostly wine vinegar with caramel coloring added.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2008
  9. Jul 21, 2008 #8

    LowlyPion

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    A general study found:
    "Lead concentrations of 59 different types of vinegars (15–307 μg l−1 in balsamic vinegars and 36–50 μg l−1 in wine vinegars) were determined using both inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry (GFAAS)."
    http://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...serid=10&md5=bd97b96f1a7a7f8be8e4be781bbdb2a6

    I think 15 μg/L is the FDA standard for water. That looks like a lot of balsamic use before any problems with standards. I have a couple of bottles of balsamic, one aged and thicker, the other lighter for tossed salads. I've had them several years. The aged and thicker is also richer (and more expensive) and I tend to use it less. Even presuming that the high end - the 300μg/L number is representative of thicker aged balsamic - 8 oz. spaced out over a couple of years of use compared to water consumption - it must be trivial. What are they thinking?

    And it's not like kids go out of their way to consume much of it either.
     
  10. Jul 21, 2008 #9

    turbo

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    Real balsamic vinegar that has been concentrated and transferred multiple times before bottling is hideously expensive, which is why people buy the fake stuff. I can't stand the fake stuff and can't afford the high-quality stuff, though I have enjoyed it at high-end restaurants when entertaining customers on my expense accounts.
     
  11. Jul 21, 2008 #10

    Evo

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    I've only seen "real" balsamic vinegar at one trendy import store and it was a tiny bottle locked in a glass case. The prices range from hundreds to thousands of dollars. Nothing you buy at the grocery store is the "real" deal.
     
  12. Jul 21, 2008 #11
    I love his show
     
  13. Jul 21, 2008 #12

    Evo

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    He has a new show tonight.
     
  14. Jul 21, 2008 #13

    Moonbear

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    I'd also be willing to guess that USDA's "consumption" data are usage of all forms of vinegar for any purpose, not just eating it, since they track agriculatural commodity markets. So, if you use a gallon of vinegar to make window cleaner, USDA probably doesn't distinguish that from a gallon of vinegar for making pickles, neither of which results in a person eating a gallon of vinegar, and doesn't distinguish that from all the vinegar you put in salad dressings.
     
  15. Jul 21, 2008 #14

    Moonbear

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    It's real, just not aged as long, so not a good quality. I still like using the cheap stuff for marinades, where you wouldn't want to use expensive balsamic vinegar. I also have the little bottle of stuff aged 10 years, which is incredibly sweet tasting. That only gets used for dipping bread with olive oil...I'd never waste it in something where it would be diluted to the point you couldn't enjoy the taste.
     
  16. Jul 21, 2008 #15

    mgb_phys

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    You think that's crazy - we can't use a whole family of optical glass because it contains lead (vitrified in the glass !) or chips that contains a few ug of lead in the internal solder.
    But we can't ship Li-Ion batteries as reguar air freight so we had to go back to using lead acid.
    So a few mg of lead safely encapsulated in glass = bad,
    several kg of lead as nice soluble lead sulphate = safe.
     
  17. Jul 21, 2008 #16

    LowlyPion

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  18. Jul 21, 2008 #17
    We import a lot of grape juice concentrate from Argentina

    http://www.fda.gov/ora/fiars/ora_import_ia2005.html

    The link above is from 2002. The link below is from 2004.

    California growers can't keep up with the demand for concentrate.

    http://cati.csufresno.edu/cab/PDF/GrapeJuiceReport.pdf

    Please don't tell me it is China again. Why can't we just poison ourselves.:frown::devil:
     
  19. Jul 21, 2008 #18

    Math Is Hard

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    I want to try the real stuff! I've never had real balsamic vinegar. :cry:
     
  20. Jul 21, 2008 #19
    I'm going to laugh hard 20 years from now when he gets nerve damage from long term lead exposure.
     
  21. Jul 21, 2008 #20

    Moonbear

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    The longer it's aged, the more thick and syrupy it gets, and much mellower and sweeter. I can't afford anything older than the 10 year aged one though...that was already pricey enough! The store I bought it from also had a glass case with the really good stuff locked up.
     
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