Researchers Find High Levels of Lead in Mexican Hot Sauces; Here are the 5 Worst Culprits

Thumbnail image for salsa_el_pato_hot_sauce.jpg
But it's such a cute duck!
Over the past week or so, the foodie world's been abuzz over a report from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas showing 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.

The answers? You can't find their full results (published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health) online, because it costs a lot of money, and the review doesn't even allow academic databases to host their papers until 18 months after they get published. They ranked them according to those whose contents "exceeded 0.1 ppm lead, "the current FDA action level for lead in candy," per the report.

Luckily, I know people in Tepito who got me a piratería version of the report, so behold the five most dangerous hot sauces that UNLV researchers found. "Although hot sauce would not be intuitively counted amongst food products highly consumed by children, ethnic and cultural practices must be considered," the paper concluded. "The following recommendations will improve the safety of imported foods and avoid unnecessary dietary lead exposure for children in the United States."

See Also:
* [INFOGRAPHIC] 11 Things You Didn't Know About Tapatio Hot Sauce
* Five Things You're Doing Wrong With Mexican Food
* A Bunch of Pictures of Mexican Food

5. Caribbean Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero

caribbean_salsa_el_yucateco.jpg

PPM: .091
I've actually never had this brand of the muy bueno hot sauce, but it seems to be designed more for Jamaican tastes than the Mexi palate. It's still under the FDA standards, but just barely.

4. Castillo Salsa Habanera?

castillo_salsa_habanera.jpg

PPM: .14

The report does a really bad job of identifying hot sauces--the one that has the .14 ppm is just listed as "Salsa Habanera." Um, brand? I'm going to assume it's Castillo Salsa Habanera, because the scientists DID say it had a red cap, and guess what?

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192 comments
Lily Marina
Lily Marina

Don't you gringos get it? These are the best hot sauces in the world,i been eating Mexican candy and these yummy spicy sauces since i can remember and I survived alellhuja,,,,they are so good usa wants to put a stop buying that because we saud so,well more for me keep eating Mcdonals!

Jim Leach
Jim Leach

Yes, we stick with Tabasco. i think their slogan is something like, "Hot and Tangy with No Lead."

Joe Smith
Joe Smith

Why don't more taco shops up the heat in their hot sauce? I only know of one in San Diego that offers a salsa de habanero.

karenkatzx13
karenkatzx13

it's not mexican but it's plenty hot: sriracha.  made im the usa.

danixdefcon5
danixdefcon5

um... #5's bottle seems to also be El Yucateco, though it is indeed a weird variant that I've never seen. Maybe US-specific?

And yowch! El Yucateco is one of those brands I eat regularly! Never seen "El Pato" though...

Luke Vafiades
Luke Vafiades

Good grief, I wonder how Valentina and Tapatio stack up. That stuff's a staple in my cupboard.

nogameben
nogameben

So can I get my money back or what?

nogameben
nogameben

So can I get my money back or what?

Rodolfo Robles
Rodolfo Robles

how much lead in a few drops that you put on your food?

Minerva Magdalena
Minerva Magdalena

:( Well, you can Always make your own I get my recipe from my Mami...pretty damn good :)

18usc241
18usc241 topcommenter

Glad to not see Goya on the list. Been eating their stuff since I was a bambino in Brooklyn. Goya is one of the last institutions still on my pedestal.

Joey Nase
Joey Nase

I refuse to look at the list of "bad" sauces! I'll use what I want until I die!!

Enrique A. Siller
Enrique A. Siller

Thank God you were not born in Mexico...why do you even bother come to Zacatecas...HIPOCRIT...Mexicans like me do not mind at all, not mind at all: HIPOCRITS like you...stay in the OC...IDIOT

Uriel P. Rojas
Uriel P. Rojas

Good thing I don't eat no fake shit, I only eat fresh home made salsa. Made with home grown tomatoes putos!!

hspengler
hspengler

Sticking to Gringo Bandito!!!

Andrew Kottenstette
Andrew Kottenstette

so much sodium these days I make my own. That and I can't get Goya's Habanero sauce anymore here (Colorado).

Miriam Navarro
Miriam Navarro

damn it Buffalo is my favorite, we put it on morisqueta yum delicious

Karrlos Suarez
Karrlos Suarez

Nnoooo! There goes my favorite hot sauce for the moment.

Jerry Vazquez
Jerry Vazquez

How can this be the most viewed piece ever. There is more important things.Our rasa is doomed.Any new news on our ninos heroes? Is ice still kidnaping them and imprisining them?

Michael Erick
Michael Erick

Not gonna stop me from buying El Yucateco or El Pato

Pretty N Pink
Pretty N Pink

Yes, but does the government tell you to run your tap water for 30 seconds if it hasn't been in use for 2 hours to decrease the amount of lead in it? No? Lead is in the earth. It's everywhere! Sean educados!

Ricardo Hernandez
Ricardo Hernandez

The Lucas prod. from Mexico have also been found with high levels of lead also and I see kids sucking on them all the time here in So. Texas. Por eso estan bien mensos!

Theoden Gonzales
Theoden Gonzales

pato in a can was the bomb never tried the bottle. and I'll finish my Yucateco like I never read this.

Adam Casillas
Adam Casillas

El Yucateco is one of my favorites on eggs and in my soups

Will Webb
Will Webb

nada como una salsa fresca, hecha en casa...

Lily Cervantes
Lily Cervantes

With all the Lucas candy we eat our bodies are used to all the lead..so ill continue to use them!! ;)

Jimmy Sanchez
Jimmy Sanchez

The only one I like from the list is Buffalo. I know it's not really hot, but it has this taste that goes great with pepino con sal y limón. Are we sure this isn't just something to get us to buy less Mexican products? A few years ago, they said Mexican candy had high levels of lead. I think these researchers are just hating on good Mexican products.

Erin Robles
Erin Robles

Whats a little lead between friends?

Charles Quinton
Charles Quinton

They can have my El Pato when they pry it from my cold, dead fingers.

Marie Hurst
Marie Hurst

I only have one thing to say to those makers: Get the lead out!

helinsky
helinsky

So much for the accuracy of the study.  El Pato is produced just outside DT LA in Boyle Heights. 

Faby V. Macías
Faby V. Macías

I can't get around tossing my cabezon, I mean Yucateco out :/

Jose Moreno
Jose Moreno

Why weren't Tapatío and Cholula examined? To big to fail?

lonhall
lonhall

@Lily Marina No soy gringo! Soy gabacho pelón!! ;)

lonhall
lonhall

@Joe Smith Joe, salsa de habanero is a Caribbean thing. I never saw it all the years I lived in Mexico. (Although the name habanero means 'from Havana', this chile was actually brought into the Caribbean from South America by Carib Indians many centuries ago). 

ericksonbrad9
ericksonbrad9

@Maria Pereira At the end it said Tapatio and Cholula were not included in the study.

amplesurf
amplesurf

@Pretty N Pink Not sure the point u'r trying to even make but... Actually, the water dept. does tell people to run their water, well at least where I live – 45 seconds to 2 minutes if you're going to consume it. Lead is everywhere. Um. So are many metals. Aluminum is the most abundant metal in the earths crust – yet it's never found free in nature. Lead is rare in nature. Problem is when humans separate or extract these metals that makes it dangerous. Despite the fact these metals are "everywhere" doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful about consuming them. They are essentially poison and bioaccumulate. SO a little here, a little there, adds up. No safe threshold for lead exposure – there is no known amount of lead that is too small to cause the body harm.

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