More like not-so-hot sauce, am I right?

Boris MannMore like not-so-hot sauce, am I right?

That burning sensation in your mouth? That’s not (just) hot sauce. It’s probably your mouth’s built-in danger sensor because there’s an unwanted special ingredient: lead. That’s right, it’s not just in your paint and lipstick anymore! (Bonus points if you drizzle hot sauce on your wall and lick it off while wearing lipstick. And by “bonus points” I mean “death.”)

Gustavo Arellano of OC Weekly writes:

[A] report from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas [shows] that there are high levels of lead in Mexican hot sauces. Researchers bought 25 brands of hot sauces in Latino grocery stores around Las Vegas and put them under the microscope to see how much lead they contained.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

The result? The worst offenders have more than double the FDA’s “action level” of lead, 0.1 parts per million. (The “action” is sealing it in an impenetrable container and running away.) Here are several of the offending hot sauces and their lead counts:

  • Castillo Salsa Habanera: 0.14 ppm
  • Búfalo Salsa Clasica: 0.17 ppm
  • El Yucateco Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero: 0.21 ppm
  • El Pato Salsa Picante Hot Sauce: 0.23 ppm

According to Arellano, popular brands Tapatío and Cholula weren’t included in the study, and Valentina was fine. So, uh, buy that one? Although your family will probably understand if your food is a little bland for a while. I mean, half a million kids already have lead poisoning. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that’s MORE THAN ENOUGH.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.