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."
5. Caribbean Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero
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?
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?
3. Búfalo Salsa Clasica
PPM: .17 I've never been a fan of Búfalo, and now I have less reason to...
2. El Yucateco Salsa Picante de Chile Habanero
Damnit! I like this hot sauce, and while the scientists didn't specify whether it's the red or green version of the sauce (and didn't even specify if it was El Yucateco to begin with), I guess there's a reason why the hot sauce has such unnatural colors.
1. El Pato Salsa Picante Hot Sauce
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I ate the canned version of this stuff throughout childhood, which just explained a whole lot about me, ¿qué no?
Not examined: hot sauce titans like Tapatío and Cholula, while Valentina passed the test.