Lead-Free Balsamic Vinegar/Red Wine Vinegar

It’s been bothering me for a while that when I enter Trader Joe’s, there’s always a sign in front of the vinegar section that says there’s lead in their vinegar.

How did lead get into vinegar?  Maybe it’s coming from the soil in the ground, but if it is from the ground then how come wine is fine while vinegar is not?  I personally think it’s coming from the manufacturing processes.  Since some vinegars have it, some don’t.

Well, instead of changing the process of how the vinegar is made, they simply avoided law suits by telling people, “Hey, there’s lead in our vinegar, you are warned!  You can’t sue me now!”

Many of you probably already know this site with a list of approved vinegar, but I think it’s good to make a compilation anyway.

A good list:

Bariani: lead-free and organic

O Olive Oil: 30 times lower lead content than the Prop. 65 standard (34 ppb) as stated on the website, actually certified to be 0.015 microgram/15 mL (1 ppb) (and maybe also organic?)

And this is how O Olive Oil changed their process to say good riddance to lead! http://www.ooliveoil.com/why_california_balsamic.php


Updated 4/22/2013
I previously wrote O Olive Oil is lead-free, but in fact it contains 30 times lower lead than the Prop. 65 standard (Thanks to Brooke!)


Updated 4/23/2013
I updated the information on the actual concentration of lead in O Olive Oil.  I got a e-mail response from O Olive Oil.  Since the level of lead is similar to environmental levels, O Olive Oil concluded that their source of lead is from natural sources (water, soil, etc.) and not from their brewing process.


Updated 10/26/2014
For the Bariani vinegars, see the e-mail below:

About leneatiengo

Vegan, without onion, garlic, leek, coriander/cilantro, hing (asafoetida), scallion, green onion, chives
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4 Responses to Lead-Free Balsamic Vinegar/Red Wine Vinegar

  1. Brooke says:

    I went to the O site & read the link on their process about how they make vinegar. No where does it guarantee that the vinegar is 100% lead free….. It says it’s 30 times less than the average. What’s up with that? Where is the lead coming from & why can’t they guarantee its completely lead free?

    • leneatiengo says:

      Thank you for correcting!

      I think part of the reason that it is hard for vinegar to be completely lead-free is due to the natural occurrence of lead in the soil, and the plants naturally uptake the lead, and when we make vinegar, we may either transfer the lead from the plants or have concentrated the lead in the process. However, I believe if we just tweak the process, we could avoid putting additional lead to the vinegar.

      And like you, I also am a little confused about O Olive Oil’s claim of 30 times less than Prop. 65 standard. Which standard is it talking about? The standard that says if it exceeds 34 ppb it would need a warning label? Or the No Significant Risk Level (NSRL) of 15 ug/day (this seem less likely as O Olive Oil will have to calculate the vinegar consumption rate)? http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/pdf/022813safeharbor.pdf

      I will send an e-mail inquiring about the exact concentration of lead in O Olive Oil’s vinegar and will update the post soon.

  2. Dante says:

    I don’t see anywhere on the Bariani website where they make any mention of lead, or their Balsamic being lead-free. Are they no longer offering it, or do you have a source for that claim?

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