If you like your food hot and spicy, you might want to check the bottles of hot sauces you have in your kitchen. Researchers collected samples of 25 different hot sauces from ethnic markets, grocery stores and food swaps and found levels of lead in 16 percent of the bottles. All of the hot sauces tested were imported from Mexico and South America.

The Food and Drug Administration’s allowed action level for lead in a product is 0.1 parts per million. According to the FDA’s website an action level represents “limits at or above which FDA will take legal action to remove products from the market.”

Grist names these four hot sauces that researchers found were above 0.1 parts per million.

  • 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
If you have any of these hot sauces, dispose of them immediately. And, if you want to make sure there’s no lead in your hot sauce, why not try making your own? Allyson Kramer has a vegan, gluten-free classic hot sauce recipe that’s plenty hot. She also gives tips for toning it down a little with a great chart that helps you pick the right peppers for the amount of spice you want.

I’ve never thought about making my own hot sauce before, but considering how much my teenage son uses the stuff, it might be something I should give a try. (Or maybe he should give it a try.)

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