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  1. Thank you for this blog. I always knew that there is something i should be concerned with whenever I see food being cooked in one of those claypots.

  2. I’m trying to send you a heart felt thank you.
    After all the work you put in, you chose to share it with us. Thanks for serving us the “whole pie and not just a piece”.

  3. Dear Irina,
    Just read thru your report about Miriam’s Earthenware. So glad I came across it because I purchased from her maybe 5 yrs ago after I was convinced reading her website it was toxin free. I bought her large clay pot you have in this report and clay cups for coffee/tea. I prepared the cups as directed poured hot water for tea and most of the water evaporated. I added more water and the tea bag drank the tea but I didn’t like the dry chalky feeling on my mouth or the taste of the tea. Don’t remember much more. I never used the pot that I placed in a cabinet in my basement. As of last week sizing down stuff I decided to throw the cups & pot out or maybe use for potting flowers. Because of your information I purchased 360 cookware and I love it. You are the most through researcher I have ever come across in my own research for a clean and healthy products. You and Lead Safe Mama are the best. Thank you for all your hard work that I just can’t do. I share all your information. Please keep up the great much needed work. My family thanks you!

    1. Dear Jeanne,
      Thank you for reaching out to I Read Labels for You and your kind words! We appreciate your feedback and are happy to help!

  4. This article is amazing. Get to learn many things. Keep sharing more useful information about kitchenware.

  5. Hey i’m from kerala , i read lot of blogs and aricles but your content is awesome
    Thanks for sharing with us ! I enjoy and never skip over any of your posts
    Thanks to IRINA WEBB

  6. Hell,
    I am in the market for glass cookware. I would like it to be lead free and free from harmful contaminants (or harmful levels of contaminants). Which brand/s do you recommend? Thank you very much for your kind advise.

    Best Regards,

  7. Can I just say what a relief to uncover somebody that really
    knows what they are discussing over the internet. You actually realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important.
    More and more people need to look at this and understand this side of the story.
    I was surprised you’re not more popular given that you certainly
    possess the gift.

  8. Thanks, Irina for your research and article. Yeah, I keep getting tempted by Miriam’s yet hesitate to purchase each time for the very same reasons you described.

    The “lab report” on their web site has zero validity. It looks like they made it up in MS Word. Unwillingness to even disclose the lab’s name to stop consumer calls to the lab is a smokescreen and silly. The proprietary clay composition claims are ridiculous if it’s “natural” clay. And you make a very strong point that EVERY batch of clay needs testing. One time testing is not conclusive.

    I thought I was extreme and that maybe I should give in, but you’ve convinced me to stay the course and stay away!

  9. hello,
    iam from kerala, india. Nowadays here people doesnot generally use earthen utensiles as almost everybody is using gas stoves. but if you are using wood buringing stoves it is better to use clay pots. but here elaborate processes are done for new pots before cookings. it takes 3 – 7 days. first water is boiled. then rise water taken after cooking rise in another pot is heated in the new pot. then vegetables are cooked but none is used for eating. only after a lot of treatment new clay pot is used for cooking. in the real first attempt a little of bit is cooked and is offered for taste to all members. if all says ok then only the pot is used for cooking.

  10. Hello. I am really surprised with your review here which I accidentally found just after talking to Mariem last night and about to place an order. I asked number of questions, and one of the question I asked was where their clay pots were tested. She replied that it’s tested in one of the lab and they do not disclose the name of the lab because the lab does not want to be contacted by customers. I was not content with that answer and doubting about ordering any after receiving this reply, so decided to read reviews and that’s how I found your reviews. So thank you. I actually completely made my mind up now that I will not be ordering. But I recently bought this vintage slow cooker with glazed earthenware inner pot. And after cooking in 12-24 hours since it cooked meat slow and I thought there was no harm in doing so, the stew tasted like nothing, so bland to me but my daughter said it had a strange funny taste. If you cook stew in oven in slow heat in metal pot it never cooks as soft, no matter how much water you put and how slow you cook. I really don’t know why. Pyrex pot with Pyrex lid makes it worse as glass lid drys and darkens meat on top. The only option for soft stew meat is pressure cooker but somehow I wanted a slow cooker as I am out most of the day. I wonder why we can’t find a slow cooker with a stainless steel inner pot as we can buy stainless steel saucepans but not slow cookers with the stainless steel inner pots. Any idea?

    Thank you Irina, for your hard work and enlightening us. Without this blog I would have ended up buying a very expensive clay pots (which I was told that I had to order three to help with the postage for being a UK customer and an ifuser since I have an electric hob) and possibly risking the health of my young family whilst thinking that I am giving them a healthy cooking,


    1. Thank you, Aysun, for sharing! I’m glad you found my post helpful. By the way, if it is a vintage slow cooker, you might want to look into heavy metals. I am not sure how it was in Britain but in the US before 1970 the laws were more lenient than they are now. ~Irina

  11. Hi Irina-
    I truly appreciate your postings and the comments people left on your postings. I have not read all of your postings but feel safe about products you would recommend. I have two questions.

    1) I love cooking soups that require cooking for 3 plus hours- which type of pot and what company specifically would you recommend for cooking dishes that take 3 plus hours to cook?
    2) I’ve read that nickel free stainless steel pots are more corrosive than the ones that contain nickel- that the more nickel is in the stainless steel pot the less corrosive it is. What are your thoughts on that?

    Thank you!


    1. Hi, CJ: I don’t have customer service capabilities anymore. I worked for the first three years for free. Now I answer questions like in private consultations or membership website. Thank you for understanding. Let me know if you are interested in taking advantage of my services. ~Irina

      1. Of course! It makes total sense that you cannot be working as hard as you are researching and be able to live without being paid 🙂

        I read more postings by you and was able to resolve my issues so I won’t been needing your services but I will certainly recommend you to others who are seeking your kind of service as I find that you are among the most honest and thorough.

        Good luck!

  12. After reading all these posts…It sounds like a mixture of cookware is the best option to include old style Pyrex or Pyrex from France, Glass, Xtrema, and a little cast iron is ok.

    1. Hi, Carmen: Yes – you are right. It depends also on your blood levels of iron and…your stored amounts of heavy metals. We also use stainless steel. And I recently bought nickel-free stainless steel. Let me know if you want to talk this more on the phone. Have a wonderful weekend! ~Irina

        1. Hi Irina
          Can you please post about nickel free stainless steel.
          I haven’t read blog post and entire comment section in my entire life.
          I am so happy you researched and posted. I was at the verge of buying MEC. Thank you for the eye opener.

  13. If you were taking a supplement that contained minerals like iron and then started using a pot that added minerals, then yeah, you’re probably getting too much iron and possibly other minerals. Too much iron can make you sick. In fact, taking supplemental iron is only necessary if you are deficient.

  14. So that means what Xtrema/Ceramcor selling is — cookware made from ceramic clay (subjected to all kinds of contaminants from our polluted environment) further mixed with more chemicals for color, shine etc. My God – why are these guys making such poisonous cookware? I was planning to buy some of their cookware, thankfully I came across this website and decided not to. Thanks for educating people about such unhealthy effects of clay. In times where traditional ways can’t be trusted, the modern ways aimed at business only are far from unhealthy too. Thanks again Irene and Steve! Stay blessed. 🙂

    1. Hi, Czecharina: The difference between Miriam’s cookware discussed here and Xtrema/Ceramcor is that Miriam’s is not glazed and thus porous so whatever is in Miriam’s clay cookware leaches very easily. ~Irina

      1. So if the clay used by Miriams is pure, it won’t leach but Xtrema would because it is glazed with chemicals. All needs to be done is to test Miriams clay for purity and if it passes the test, it is safe to use.

        1. @Czecharina
          NO! NO! NO! Reread Irena’s reply to you… she states only that Miriam’s pots are not glazed and therefore ARE POROUS and WILL LEACH and does NOT refer to them as being PURE! (and they’re NOT pure as they have tried to claim – read my posts (from STEVE) to understand the reason why PURE is a false claim).

          You even indicate in your response back to Irina that you think Xtrema pots would leach because they’re glazed with chemicals. You really need to do some re-reading before you consider buying any type of clay pots as you’re not understanding what’s what or you are getting things mixed up in your understanding of each type.

          The claim by ANY manufacturer that their clay is PURE and won’t leach is BOGUS! There is no such thing as PURE clay in our polluted world anymore – perhaps back before mankind started using chemicals and dumping waste everywhere but definitely not for a very long long time!

      1. ok thanks. I will keep that in mind. However, I think it would be hard since they are produced in a small village only. So there is no company that manufactures them. But who knows 🙂

      2. I’d love for you to research la chamba for me. Before I pay can you tell me what the research includes and how long it would take?


      3. Hi, how about Cook on Clay, what do you think of that, do you have any info? Is it better? I was considering purchasing their clay pots. I also have Vitaclay & so far no problems. Don’t see anything leaking & baking soda cleans up the food odors left from cooking. I am concerned about the cooking plates & second interior lid being aluminum (1st is clay but with small holes for steam release), especially if clay is porous. I can’t tell if the clay pot is glazed or not.

        1. Hi, Helen:
          I haven’t researched them. You might want to ask them where the clay comes from and if their products are tested for lead and other heavy metals. Thank you. ~Irina

  15. Zepter is the best and only one!! Made in Switzerland/Swiss. Google/search ….Anyhow, the best cooking pots are 18/20 stainless steel made from Italy, Germany, France, Austria or Swiss, and It is very hard to find it. These are surgical materials without leaching of any unwanted toxins… stated- surgical materials/stainless steel says everything. It’s expensive.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, Jessie. I am surprised to see that they claim no allergy to their cookware. The stainless steel they use contains a pretty high percentage of Nickel (Ni) and some people are allergic to nickel. From a quick glance at their website, I do not see any advantages of using their cookware over the stainless steel cookware I have listed in the post. Do you? ~Irina

  16. Wow, very interesting and informative discussion. I sure am glad I came across this website as I’m thinking of purchasing these clay pots from MEC. I can understand these explanations from perhaps the clay pot wasn’t season properly or enough or it could be a healing crisis or just simply there are contaminants present in these pots because let’s face it, we live in a very polluted planet – the air, the ground and probably everything in between. That, being unglaze compounded the issue as well. Reading these comments made me draw up my own conclusions: 1. Probably even the non toxic cookware we thought or deemed 100% non toxic may still have some form of toxicity in them, albeit, not enough to do great damage. 2. Knowledge is power. It’s wonderful to make an inform decision and to not just go with the flow because someone said this or that. It pays to do research and put your ducks in order. Having said that, I’m still not ready to give up on my clay pot hunt, not just yet. But taking my time to do research, research and more research!

  17. Hello Dueep Singh,

    When you refer to “Having traveled extensively and eaten food cooked in clay pots, in the Indian subcontinent, since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, let me tell you some points about real honest to goodness clay utensils. They are bought from a potter in the town or the village because he knows traditionally, where to get the best clay”, I’d like to know just how you believe that those local potters can know the actual minerals, metals, contaminants (acid rain, etc.) and ionic molecules that have been absorbed into those clay locations.

    Since the world’s atmosphere is a giant mixer and distributor of all these minute amounts of dissolved atoms and molecules through rain, snow, sleet, fog, cloud-water, and dew back to the earth, which in our rampant globalization with businesses and individuals creating toxic waste in ever increasing volumes into the air, ground, and waterways, there is no pure / best clay on earth that hasn’t been exposed to the heavy metals, pesticides, petroleum by-products and other chemicals that gets absorbed by the soil/clay.

    There’d have to have been an impermeable covering both above, around and under the clay deposits to prevent the absorption by clay of the natural movement of the various ions of natural and man-made minerals/chemicals to have some semblance of pure / honest clay, frankly, which may have only existed well in the past before man started mining and polluting the earth.

    As you point out, the clay pots for curries, gravies, etc. as well as not using dish washing soap to clean them is because not only will the clay pots absorb these chemicals / flavors, they will release them as well, which also applies to the inherent pollution, metals, etc., that existed in the clay when it was dug up to be used for making clay pots.

    As I said, just wondering how you and the local clay potters can know that their clay deposits taken from the earth which siphons off ions from all materials and transported through the weather and ground water movements, etc., can be immune to these natural chemical transfers in the soil / clay but are somehow clean and pure because they’re from India and or African locations.

    You might compare this to my October 6, 2017 postings on this forum for further comments.

    1. Thank you, Steve, for explaining so well! I completely agree with you. I see this over and over again. Some people tend to think that traditional ways are the best. What they are not considering is that our planet is polluted, and thus whatever worked a long time ago before the industrial revolution, it is not going to cut it today with over 80,000 chemicals in commercial use and the environment. ~Irina

  18. This is for all of those people, who are still afraid of clay pot cookery, because it is a comparatively new thing, it is a different way of cooking and so on and so forth. Well, my friends, here is the information straight from the horses’ mouth, so that Those miles and miles of misguiding information on websites, also giving you confusing information Can be cleared once for all.
    In the East and in Africa, clay pot cookery has been in use for millenniums. Traditionally, the food was cooked in tagines, and in Asia, every house proud cook has to have a traditional clay pot in which to cook curries, gravies, and other dishes on a slow fire.
    Having traveled extensively and eaten food cooked in clay pots, in the Indian subcontinent, since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, let me tell you some points about real honest to goodness clay utensils.
    They are bought from a potter in the town or the village because he knows traditionally, where to get the best clay. The clay pot is used for about six months, to cook food over a slow fire, until it starts showing wear and tear or showing cracks. So you go and get another cooking pot from him.
    Traditionally, as these foods were cooked over wooden fires, nobody bothered much about temperature change, which is the problem in cooking on a gas stove, low, medium, high. So when you get your clay pot for the first time, immerse it in water after washing it thoroughly, for the first 24 hours.
    This is to get the clay to absorb the water and become watertight. After that, you remove the clay pot and season it with oil. Both inside and outside. In South India, the water used inside the clay pot was rice water, – rice boiled in water and the water used for seasoning the chatty – which had plenty of starch in it. After the first 24 hours, I removed the clay pot from the water, and placed it in the sun, to cook for another 4 – 5 hours, so that the oil could be absorbed again.
    Do this for three days, even though traditionally, this is done for a week. Water absorption, oiling, cooking in the sun. Within three days, your clay pot is going to be really watertight and well seasoned.
    Cook a gravy or a curry in it for the first time. You do not use the same clay pot in which you have cooked curries and gravies to cook anything else because the flavors are going to mix. That means you are not going to be boiling milk for yogurt in this particular clay pot!
    Also, whatever brand names may say, anybody who is selling you a glazed piece of pottery, and calling it cookware is taking advantage of you, as a fool and her money and somebody else is going to party!
    A traditional honest-to-goodness clay pot is never going to be glazed with poisonous lead or other elements.
    You are also never ever ever going to wash your clay pot with dishwashing soap. What do you want to do, feed your kiddies with dishwashing gravy? That is because the particles of those chemicals have been absorbed in the once healthy clay.
    Also, if you want to use your clay pot in the oven, do so, but the idea of putting it in the microwave, and thus nuking your kids again with microwave radiation, 200,000 times more dangerous than x-ray waves is of course your prerogative and choice. So you cannot have healthy cooking with your clay pot in one hand, and at the same time, feed them nuked food because you were too lazy to slave over the gas stove!
    God bless.

  19. Hi Irina,

    My chiropractor mentioned Saladmaster to me. After doing some research he and his wife purchased a set. I had a recent chat with a mutual acquaintance who gave me more information about the product. Yes, she does sell it, but I’d like to think she is an ethical person given her contact with my chiropractor who I know for sure is very ethical. Plus, im not one who is easily swayed by salespeople 🙂 Anyway, she gave me information about the product and how the titanium not only makes the cookware non-stick but it also prevents leaching due to its lack of porosity. I’m sure you may have heard of representatives doing porosity tests at Saladmaster demonstrations so that individuals can see the level of porosity in the cookware they are currently using. Since I’m researching new cookware to buy, I thought it only fair to consider Saladmaster even though it’s so expensive! I’m looking forward to reading what you learn from the company itself!

    In regards to lead leaching from glass I read about this recently which prompted me to research this more. I’ll have to find and share the link.

    1. Hello Rhonda,

      I was re-reading your comments of Dec 28-29, 2017 recently and was struck by the following statement you made, “I’m sure you may have heard of representatives doing porosity tests at Saladmaster demonstrations so that individuals can see the level of porosity in the cookware they are currently using.”

      Please don’t be fooled by such demonstrations – firstly, consider that there’s a reason that they want to PROVE this POROSITY issue to you as it attempts to offset a consumers concern about toxic substances, etc., getting into your food, broths and teas/coffee.

      However, the cookware materials as well as the items being cooked / heated all have atomic structures that have spaces (voids) between their atoms / molecules that vary in size for all matter even though we can’t detect it by the human eye. Heating a substance can change the void size depending on the effect heating has on the material due to crystallization and other effects which will affect the porosity and obviously the rate of any minute or substantial amounts of fluids that could excrete or pour through a given material used for cooking.

      Here’s the thing that they don’t demonstrate, which besides POROSITY, is LEACHING. This can’t be revealed without doing a chemical analysis (and especially if being demonstrated by sales reps of a cookware product and not by certified chemical testing technicians of a laboratory – and do you really think such technicians would be on hand at a cookware sales demonstration with their lab equipment?). Leaching can occur by itself as well as through porosity. Leaching is the transfer of ions of material (metal, mineral, oils, pesticides, etc.) and will occur through both direct contact to either the cookware or through the liquid the food sits in within the cookware as well as the voids (porosity) in the cookware and food with or without heat (depending on the acidity of the food) although heating typically increases leaching.

      So they will demonstrate that their cookware obviously doesn’t show an outflow of fluids which will typically convince consumers standing around to go “oooh, ahhh – I’m convinced, this is the best and I want it now, how much is it?” In my younger days I used to do sales demonstrations and they have marketers that prepare sales pitches to convince consumers to, umm, drink the Kool-aid if you get this reference. Are all sales demonstrations set up to fool or misrepresent, of course not, but the underlying message and portrayal is always staged to sway and convince and it’s up to you, the consumer, to ALWAYS QUESTION AND RESEARCH before committing unless they offer a solid no questions asked return policy.

  20. I’m considering the saladmaster titanium 316. It’s SO expensive but it doesn’t leach any metals at all. I e also researched glassware and found borosilicate glass contains no lead unlike lime soda glass that’s commonly found in Pyrex and other popular glassware.

    1. Rhonda: I just contacted Saladmaster to get a list of their ingredients. Why do you think Saladmaster does not leach any metals. It is a metal alloy so by definition, it will be leaching some metals. With the exception of leaded crystal, glass is not known to contain lead. ~Irina

  21. Yes she did but given her dialogue with the developer regarding chemical level testing, it doesn’t seem like she does anymore. One last question on bakeware. What type of cake and muffin pans do you recommend? I do have glass pie dishes.

  22. Hi Irinia,

    Yes, I read the comments and also went to Tamara’s site. I’m so confused regarding which way to go. I have cast iron but was looking for additional cookware to replace the old set I’ve been using. I also have Pyrex bakewsre for casseroles. Stainless steel perhaps? Brands?

  23. This is very interesting. I’m straddling the fence on whether or not to try it. What about Salad Master cookware? I know a few people who’ve purchased it due to it being safe and certified by the American Cancer Society. Would love to know your thoughts.

    1. Hi, Rhonda: I was unable to get information on the material Salad Master use. And I think their baking soda test does not have any scientific basis. Do you understand that they had a negative experience with Miriam clay cookware? Did you read the comments to this post? ~Irina

  24. Hi Irina,

    Thanks for sharing this thoughtful post. I purchased a couple of pots from MEC, and I’ve been experiencing some strange effects too lately, feeling faitugued, etc. It seems that some of the compounds leaching from the clay might be harming my liver. And this is odd, because just a week or two ago I felt great; great energy levels, strong, etc.

    I’m going to discontinue my usage of the pot for now.

    You seem like a beautiful woman, inside and out.

    1. Hi, Navid: I am so sorry it happened to you. I know it is not fun. And I hope you will get a relief soon. I took a NAC supplement for detoxification, and it helped me. You can read more about it here: Consult your doctor first if you decide to take it though. Thank you so much for your kind words. And I am so happy we will be in touch as I see you signed up for my emails. Let me know you feel. ~Irina

  25. I genuinely appreciate your fair and honest review. It gave me a lot to ponder, as I was already contemplating to purchase this cookware.

  26. I’m leaning towards getting Pyroflam from overseas (France?) to avoid the current Pyrex substitution of soda lime silicate for borosilicate which was not prone to the rapid temperature change breaking / exploding as detailed in .

    Perhaps someone here in the US will see the market for these items and possibly even setup a distribution or manufacture them here creating a competitor to the corporate owner of Pyrex which fails to realize that they’ve made a mistake by not using the more expensive borosilicate and more expensive production costs but an ultimately MUCH SAFER way to make their Pyrex glassware.

    It’s been reported by interested watchdog organizations that Pryex blames consumers and refuses to accept most of the complaints saying that the consumers can’t proof that the glassware that exploded was in fact a Pyrex product since the glass shards aren’t readable to indicate the manufacturers name and most people don’t keep the boxes and receipts after a period of years. It’s also reported that Pyrex appears to have been given shade, it seems, by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, indicating that it refuses to pursue the number of reported issues of exploding Pyrex glassware by ignoring cases where people weren’t injured so they can disregard those as an indication of a safety issue.

    I guess it’s not so surprising that our US agencies have been so adverse to doing their jobs, just look at the FDA and NHSTA. The FDA has been so frequently criticized for failing to protect the public and has had so many cases of where corruption by officials and employees have gone to work for those companies that they were supposed to evaluate but wound up helping them get approval which they shouldn’t have. Then you have NHSTA, the National Highway and Safety Administration – they essentially turned into friends with the auto industry by not pursuing a high number of what should have been safety recalls for decades until finally the last straw for the public was the revelation concerning GM and the ignition switch fiasco. These are just a few examples of what is the mire of corruption and ineptitude that exists as failures of our govt. agencies to serve and protect the public.

    Anyways, these are my thoughts and perceptions from reading reports on the Web and a fair amount of common knowledge (?).

  27. (continued post)

    Another issue I have with Miriam’s Earthen Cookware is that she claims
    “This clay also known as MEC’s Pure-Clay(TM) is completely inert and cooks your food without leaching chemicals, metals or toxins.”

    Well, as I indicated earlier, Terracotta pots are quite porous and so what you cook will indeed soak into the clay as well as be released back into the food and outside of the pot when the liquid in the clay reaches a saturation level as well as due to the normal activity of electrons in matter. A glaze can sharply reduce this activity but not absolutely completely although hardly measurable.

    And finally, as for MEC clay being tested and certified, it’s one thing to be tested but certified? Labs have to be recognized and accepted by a crediting organization and even then, only for applied for types of testing, not for just anything that can be analyzed. Any lab with certain equipment can evaluate things but such results don’t mean that they were done in certified processes to provide acceptable measurements that are down to proper unit tolerances.

    Something else that raises a concern to me is that anybody can create documents and make claims of authenticity and fakes can often be recognized by misuse of words and typos. On MEC’s website regarding the testing there are two purported testing results and in the test regarding arsenic, the document refers to a term of “Sorbid”. This isn’t a word that I can find using, Google search and various other search efforts. True, many disciplines have very specialized and technical words / terms that they use, BUT that you can’t find such words on the Web?

    One of the things that often trips up a fake is when the person creating it uses a misspelled word / term in theirs and other’s documents that are supposedly provided by another entity, especially one that is listed as a higher educational based entity. They wouldn’t have known or used, or would have used the improper speeling (lol, note my example here) SPELLING. There are a few words with similar spellings of the non-word “SORBID”, but they don’t have any meaning that would relate to indicating some aspect associated with metal testing, analysis, yielding, assaying, etc. I’m sure you get the point. Could there be such a word – hmmm. Again, the Web doesn’t provide any hits unless you count the two, count them, 2, that only exist on MEC’s website… (note: END of MEC topic post)

    1. Thank you, Steve, for these very informative comments. For legal reasons, I can’t always write about things that I do not have proof of. I thank you for this additional reasoning. Unfortunately, we live on the polluted planet, which means that things that come directly from earth without being purified and/or filtered or contained are not good enough. I am sure clay pots worked well centuries ago when the planet was not polluted. I definitely felt sick after eating from MEC pot but I do not regret the experiment because now together we can warn others. I also did not feel good, when I went to an Indian restaurant where they cooked in clay pots. Some of us (like me) do not have very good detoxifying genes so we have to be very careful. And lastly, I wanted to mention that Miriam has an affiliate program meaning that she pays commissions to people who recommend her products on the Internet. Thank you, Steve, for being generous with your time. I am glad you are here. 🙂 ~Irina

  28. (continued post)

    MEC disputes this with the following various statements on their website:

    “The only raw material that can keep your food pure is pure-clay or primary clay because it is completely free of natural contaminants and manufacturing additives.”

    “The MEC Difference: MEC is made with 100% all-natural, primary clay. It has NO Lead, NO Cadmium, NO arsenic, NO aluminium or any other Contaminants or toxins – Certified & Guaranteed.”

    “Primary clay is hard to find, hard to harvest and requires skill to work with (which is why we’re the only ones who use it, others use secondary clay) but this exactly why we like it — when it’s hard to find, it’s pure and uncontaminated.”
    (note: continued on following post)

    Well, let’s look at these claims, firstly, primary clay is clay that has formed from the breaking down of rocks and plants at a particular site – which means that the weathering from rain water seeps into the materials and erodes them into the soil. These rocks may be just one type or a variety, same as the plants which absorb minerals from the soil so if these rocks contain heavy metals then these will be part of the primary clay when it forms. Secondary clay is just primary clay that gets transported by rain waters as it drops down into the soil / clay, carrying away dissolved ions and picking up other ions (metals, chemicals, pesticides) as it travels through other parcels of land on its way to a riverbed or lake, etc., get deposited and become “secondary clay” at that point. No way does “primary clay” mean it is pure or void of contaminants, metals, etc., Earth’s weather system is one big distribution system for transporting soil components around the world. Evaporation of the lakes and oceans into the clouds carries these particles away and deposits them onto lands everywhere – even to so called locations where primary clay will be formed and exist until dug up by MEC, so those locations don’t have a deflector shield over them to prevent the various acid rains, chemical runoffs and dumpings from landing on such sites, meaning they’re going to have such contaminates but perhaps not the same PPM (parts per millions) as could be found in secondary clay.
    (note: continued on following post)

  29. Hi Irina,

    I agree with your assessment and when a company involved with food or cooking utensils invokes the “proprietary information” claim one should just hang up and post about that very issue so that others can either avoid buying from them or call to urge their changing their stance so that one’s health seeking options can be supported.

    From some further reading about clay, types, soil content makeup and uses, I was struck by the fact that MEC is using Terracotta clay, and unglazed at that, to make cooking pots since they are, it seems, primarily used for potting plants. Since they are porous it allows for air / water to easily pass through the clay which helps the health of the planting by stopping root rotting although the downside for the plant is that it requires more frequent watering since the water in the soil gets attracted to the clay.

    This is probably why you and others saw brown seepage at the bottom of your pots – it’s the absorption of your broth, etc., mixing with the brown (or red) of iron in the clay content, being released when the pot is saturated. This means you could be getting other minerals and metal ions based on the clay’s ingredients. Some people are more reactive to certain metals / materials / ingredients than others – so your and others immune reaction could be due to these unglazed pots. If they’d been glazed, it most likely would have prevented this release of clay ingredients into your food and your body. MEC disputes this with the following various statements on their website:
    (note: continued on following post)

  30. Hi great article. Have you used Riess cookware? All my research showed it was fantastic to use and non toxic.

  31. i am actually going to give them try. very expensive to canada but i think it is much healthier then most of the cookware our there…..i also wondering people feeling bad after using the cookware because now you are taking more nutrition then before and that is why toxic is releasing and you feel sick?

    i heard feom some source that taking enough mineral or vitamins can actually pull toxic from the body. And it seems like the cookware actually save lots of mineral and vitamins then other cookware made with metals. so maybe it is not pod but because of releasing process make some people sick?

    i am curious.

    1. Yes, this is what the owner said that I might be, for the first time, getting good nutrition, which does not make any sense to me. I know exactly what minerals and vitamins my body has and which ones I am unable to synthesize from food. ~Irina

  32. I want to say that never have I ever read a review that had been, in a way, “sponsored” by the manufacturing company, not been glowingly, and often, suspiciously positive. You are so refreshingly honest and your integrity to the truth is unwavering. Your voice cannot be bought. Do you know how few people can claim that? I know you just reviewed a clay pot but I’ve read book reviews, product reviews, pet food reviews, and all manner of other reviews that were nothing more than paid-for shilling. I was surprised to read your honest review and I’d trust your opinion and judgement on other things. If you ever feel the temptation to blur the truth or hide some uncomfortable facts for the sake of selling something, remember this review and don’t give in. If you continue to remain so refreshingly honest for your readers, you could be someone we all need in a world where everything negative is brushed under the carpet and we, the public, are led around by our noses.

  33. I just remembered too that I have read accounts of this cookware becoming moldy which makes sense. Not moldy on the surface but on the interior part. And yeah, you could dry them well but kitchens by nature are steamy places. I think this is why I decided against them in the past. I may reconsider getting a few smaller Visionware pots and being uber careful with handling them. The larger ones are very heavy but I think I could make do with the smaller sauce pan. There’s a small one with a spout that I like. And use that to reheat soup, etc or cook vegetables & sauces. I like the idea of this glass steamer mentioned above. I never felt sick from eating any food cooked in the Visionware. aka Visions cookware. You can get them on Etsy and Ebay. How I miss the days of choosing cookware by how “pretty” it looked, lol. 😀 Naw, health beats everything. I’d cook from Darth Vader shaped cookware if only it was safe!

  34. So far the thing that feels safest to me is glass Pyrex or other brands of glass casseroles in the oven. On a stove top is more difficult. I had been using vintage Vision ware glass pots and REALLY liking them until I broke one (I knocked a lid off one and it struck another on the stove) and it shattered into a MILLION teeny tiny shards and glass dust that took forever to clean. I still am finding the occasional glass bits. I had to throw away some other cookware because it got dusted in this glass and I was too afraid. Pity, because for cooking it was great and a very inert substance to use but I can’t go through the danger of these glass fragments again. I’ve tried cast iron but then you have to worry about the iron getting into your food. I had Henry Emile but then I found a study that showed there was lead and other toxic substances in the glaze, although they claim to use a non toxic glaze. If it gets scratched that’s going in my food. Just couldn’t get past the black paint/glaze on the inside either. I had a Lodge enamelware once and loved it even with it being made in China or wherever it’s made. (Not USA sadly). At least I know they test the pots and glaze to make sure it’s safe. I never felt sick after having soup in one. I’m considering buying one again and just using it for slow cooked soups or stews. I read about one person who had tested with a lot of metals in her body after switching to all stainless steel cookware so I’m wary of that.
    Now that I’ve read this article I WON’T be using Miriam’s brand or any non-glazed clay. When I get that proprietary line (I’ve gotten it for food and cat food) I won’t be buying that product. “Spices” = no for me as it can be hiding msg for a start. There’s a cat food called Organix that turns out to be not so organic and also contains 2 components that create MSG when combined. I want 100% visibility & don’t want items I cook with every day to have “secrets”. Companies should worry less about knock-offs and more about the health of their customers. IMO it’s irresponsible & greed driven to hide ingredients. Whether or not it’s a harmful ingredient I have a right to know what is going to be entering my bloodstream!! Sorry, I’m not trusting a complete stranger trying to sell something & keeping secrets that what I’m consuming from them is safe.
    I’m considering a Lodge non enameled pot for stews and soups that are not high acid based (the acid leaches more iron), a Lodge enameled pot also for soups and stews but they CAN be more acid based, *maybe* 1 stainless pot for boiling water for pasta on occasion. All of these pots would be rotated and not used daily. Then also using Pyrex or else glassware made in France or maybe Italy for baking & slow baking more items that I used to cook on the stove as it feels safer to me. A traditional carbon steel wok to use on occasion. You season them also & in the past I felt REALLY healthy when using one. You only quickly cook on it for a minute or two anyway! Ken Hom has one I like. You do have to dry them well after washing but loved mine. I use a stainless steel USA made baking tray but always with parchment paper. I’ve seen a glass baking tray on Amazon I’m considering. I also like Lodge bake ware like the loaf pan, muffin tin, and pizza pans. I’d like to find a baking stone one day to just leave on the bottom rack of my oven to add more consistent heat. Now I’ll have a look at the Pyroflam also.
    I’ve stopped trusting businesses as they have THEIR best interest at heart, not mine. I have the most respect for businesses that are forthright and *want* to tell you all the ingredients & process of how their products are made. It’s so old fashioned of them to act elusive. The truth is always a great place to start.

    1. Well, now I read that Lead Safety of America tested a Lodge Enameled and found significant lead on the INSIDE white part of the pot. It was a blue pot. :/ So I won’t be getting one of those. I’ve ordered a Vision ware pot (second-hand/vintage) instead.

      1. Hi, Lisa: could you provide a link? It is good that I never recommended enameled Lodge. Unlike cast iron Lodge, I believe it is made in China. Thanks. ~Irina

  35. After our very dismal experience with Miriam’s incomplete truths and her leaky clay pots that contain glyphosate contamination, I bought the Extrema fry pan from Mercola and a two of the black handled pots from Extrema themselves (Mercola pans are Extrema). We never used the fry pan from Mercola because it was way too huge (just two of us) and heavy for us (we are older). I saw the size and weight of the fry pan listed on Mercola’s website, but it just didn’t click until the giant fry pan arrived. Mercola was very generous to allow us a refund. Extrema sells smaller fry pans than the one Mercola offers, but after using the handled pots we got from Extrema, I’m glad we didn’t buy one.
    Extrema pans must be heated slowly and this takes time as you gradually increase the heat. Once they are heated, they cook pretty fast if you use the lid, but it seems to take a lot of babysitting the cooking process to get it right (time, adjusting the heat, how much water to add or not add, etc). This would be just too inconvenient for what we cook in fry pans.
    It took some time to learn how to use the two handled pots we bought from Extrema (the things mentioned above plus having to switch to non-metal utensils) but we like them a lot and use them daily. They are not good for quickly heating up things, for example in the morning before work, but they are great for food that take some time to cook. The food is well cooked, delicious, and no strange tastes from the pan as we experienced with the MEC pot. We have not had anything stick, except when we weren’t watching the pan closely enough to adjust the heat down or add liquid and the food burned on the bottom. We thought it would be a disaster, but it came right off with a light scrub.
    We have not noted any symptoms from cooking our food in these pans (as we did with the MEC pot), so that part is very good. Extrema has sales often, and when they have a really good one, I am going to get one of the large pots for making bone broth. I noticed Dr. Mercola using one in his video on how to make bone broth. I know it will be really heavy because the two (small and medium) handled pots we have are heavy, but it will be worth it to make bone broth that doesn’t pick up toxins from the pan.
    I have read that the colored lids for some of the Extrema pans may contain lead so am sticking with the black ones. If I wanted any colorful ones, I would really look into this issue to make sure they are safe. I’m sure the owner of Extrema would say so, but I would want to check it independently, just to be sure.

  36. Hi everyone!
    I’ve been researching healthy cooking pots for a couple of days and keep coming up with Dr Mercola.
    Has anyone tried them or heard of him?
    They’re ceramic and reasonably priced.
    Also he doesn’t charge postage from the US.
    I haven’t bought them yet, just wondering if anyone has any information on them.

  37. Thanks for your review. I have just recently been researching different cookwares to find one that is best for me, and safest. Never thought of clay cookware.
    The clay smell and taste in my food would be a deal-breaker for me, though.

  38. Thank you for your research. My roommate uses pampered chef unglazed stoneware dishes to bake everything. I can’t stand the way they stink up the entire house for a day or two. It’s as if every meal she’s cooked in them comes out while she’s baking food in them. After a Year and a half of her baking and After last night’s chicken I am going to ban them from the house. There’s a weird clay chemical smell as well. I have been not been feeling great either, headaches and low energy and now wonder if the bakeware could be contributing. I honestly don’t get the appeal anyway – glass is great for baking and safe. The porous nature of the clay just doesn’t make sense to me when trying to keep flavors pure and untainted. Plus it’s so tricky to season and maintain them which she does not do- she scrubs them with soap and water as well. Thanks again.

  39. Thank you very much for sharing this experience with us!
    What do you think of Xtrema cookware? it is very expensive but the owners say it is the healthiest cookware in the planet and it is 100% ceramic.
    I am really confused whether to go for Xtrema or greenlife cookware?

    1. Hi, Ruby: Thank you for asking the questions. You will find your answers about Xtrema here. In short, after I contacted them multiple times and knowing the alternatives, I concluded that it is safe but it requires some adjustment to use it. As for Greenlife, generally, I am wary of ceramic non-stick coating because ultimately they do not know what it is made of. Also, the coating comes off exposing aluminium. For more information, you might be interested in my 7 Days to a Healthier Kitchen e-book. ~Irina

      1. Hi Irina: I’ve been using an xtrema sauce pan and lately noticed toxic fumes rising from the outer surface, which bled into the pan itself. I’ve written the mf about it, but won’t be using it any more.

        1. Hi, Mimi! Thank you for sharing! We are sorry to hear that, though! If you are looking for new cookware to replace what you have, you may benefit from our guide to safe cookware:, recently updated blogpost about GreenPan:, and the newly published 360 Cookware review:

  40. Hi Irina,
    I’ve got a La Chamba soup pot, which I think is awesome. It’s also unglazed. I don’t have any trouble with leaking liquids or health issues. But of course we’re all different and you never know how someone might react.

  41. Not sure if you have already mentioned it in the above comments and replies, but have you found any issues with glass ceramic sets. We use Visions cookware. Thanks

  42. I bought a Miriams (MEC) pot and used it a few times. I thought the food tasted great. However, the food made me feel sick and I recognized the symptoms I was experiencing as the result of glyphosate exposure. The food I cooked in the pot was organic. I had been cooking the exact same food from the exact same source for in a glass pot the weeks prior to getting the MEC pot, so it seems really unlikely that the glyphosate came from the food, as Miriam tried to convince me.
    Miriam said that the clay comes from an area that has not been cultivated in many years and they dig down under the surface to get it. I suspect that’s probably true. However, my doctor recently told me there’s a new study showing that a significant percent of the rain in the USA contains glyphosate (the herbicide used in RoundUp-for GMO and other crops), so it’s raining down on a lot of organic crops and otherwise uncontaminated land. It seems that the clay for the MEC pot may have been contaminated with glyphosate due to rain. I’m not sure how the glyphosate got there, only that the food I cooked in the pot contained it, and the same food cooked in glass did not. Since return was not allowed, I’m stuck with an expensive pot I can’t use. A friend who has one and is not sensitive to herbicides wants it. But I keep thinking, sensitive or not, who would want to eat extra pesticides. This is just my experience.

    1. This is the problem. Because there is no barrier/glaze and the pots are not inert, whatever is in the clay (and we do not know the composition of the clay) ends up in the food. Thank you for sharing. What were your symptoms? I wonder if I had the same symptoms. ~Irina

    2. Hi Irina,
      Symptoms were a lot of swelling, being wiped out, and extreme weakness in my legs. The leg weakness thing happens every time I get exposed to glyphosate. The other thing to realize is that since there is no glaze barrier, whatever is in the food ends up in the clay. So say you cook some rice, which is known to have arsenic, now do you have arsenic stored in your clay pot ready to get into your next meal? Miriam insisted that if there was glyphosate in my pot, that it got there from cooking glyphosate contaminated food.

      1. Wow. Not sure how she can insist that without a careful lab test of the food AND the cookware. Then testing them again after cooking.

  43. there any hope for toxin free cooking? 🙁 just when you think you are going the healthily route-you end up getting a reality check.

  44. Hi there,
    I have been using earthen pot since last 7 months.I used to saute vegetable in the earthen pots.few weeks after since bought it I found that at every time I heat the earthen pot the oil stains up the pot (oil I have used for the previous cooking)I have tried cleaning the pot 2-3 times after each use to see no change in the condition.I heard of repeted heating of same oil can cause cancer. Could u pls write back for my concerns.

  45. I think that the key to using these types of pots is proper seasoning and slow heating. There’s a learning curve to any type of new cookware and (as a home chef who takes the kitchen seriously!) I’m always reluctant to believe accounts on these things when the individual has only used the product a handful of times. It takes a lot of time, skill and knowledge to perfect and understand different cooking apparatus and methods… Overall, I like the info on this blog, but I found this article rather lacking :/

    1. I believe the point was that the manufacturer refuses to disclose the exact materials the container is made from so seasoning or not why would you want to risk cooking in something with possible toxic materials. Also, lets be real. Non glazed clay is extremely porous and there is only so much that seasoning can do to seal cookware. Think of all the rigors cookware goes through! Boiling, steaming, being soaked as these are meant to be, scrubbed, stirred, etc. Also even within a few times of using the cookware the author felt very unwell and so have other people on this comment section. Even then she tried to investigate exactly what she might be reacting to that was coming from the cookware but the manufacturer refused to help. Plus the author wrote that she *studied* the seasoning instructions and followed them very carefully before using the pot. But obviously it’s up to you what you want to take seriously. I take my health seriously . I’m less inclined to take a company seriously that has secrets about potentially harmful ingredients. 🙁

  46. Hi
    Was wondering whether you had come across Tierra Negra, produced in Columbia. ( I’ve been using these for years and haven’t yet found anything else to match. I’ve found the bigger the pot the more fragile and therefore the more likely to crack sooner rather than later. I’ve had smaller pots lasting 5 years plus. Even with a crack they’re still usable until a point where the crack gets too big and seepage occurs. I’m prepared to put up with this for the sake of my health.
    All the best.

  47. Hi guys, I too have a MEC pot. I’ve had it for about 2 years. It’s great for re-heating food, leftovers, cooking veggies, etc. What is is NOT good at is anything liquid based. Don’t try to make soups, tea, or steam anything with it, as that will only result in water leaking out the bottom of the pan, and burning the bottom of the pan. As long as your cooking is not liquid-based, it will do fine.
    If you want a more all around functional cookware that is non-toxic, I’d go with Le Creuset. These are cast iron with a ceramic non toxic glaze. Wonderful. Easy to use.
    Now, if you could do an article about a non-toxic tea kettle, that’d be great! It’s not an easy thing to find. Has anyone researched Staub kettles?

  48. Just a suggestion: Why don’t you just ask Miriam to call the testing lab and permit them give you their test results? Or ask Miriam to send you the test results (instead of trying to your own testing)?

    1. Ha Ha Ha This is a common sense. That’s the ridiculousness of the situation. Miriam said that her company’s policy does not allow her to disclose the composition of the clay she uses. So she advised me to call the lab. Then I called her and told her the lab would not disclose. She said nothing helpful. I got rid of the pot. I remember the whole experience with it as a nightmare. ~Irina

  49. hi there,

    i’ve also been looking at the vitaclay slow cooker as a clay-based alternative to my good old ceramic rival slow cooker. have you done any digging on vitaclay? i’m very curious about their products. thanks for any insight you have to offer. just discovered and love your blog!

    1. Hi, there! I do not recommend Vitaclay. It is similar type of unglazed clay cookware detailed in this post. The composition of the clay is not disclosed and since there is no protective glaze whatever is in clay leaches into your food. I do not see any leaching test report for lead and cadmium required by Prop. 65 on their website. Also, the clay they comes from China. Thanks. ~ Irina

      1. I just found this on Vita-Clay website. I was also looking at replacing a crockpot. But I guess I would need to ensure they check each batch?

        VitaClay ® cookers are UL, cUL listed. It meets standard requirement of FDA, CA Prop 65, which covers lead and cadmium test. Moreover, our VitaClay ® has passed RoHS laboratory testing as well. The RoHS Directive stands for “the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment”. This Directive bans the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment containing more than agreed levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants.

  50. I’ve been having the exact experience you described with a Vitaclay 2-In-1 Yogurt Maker/Personal Slow Cooker. Bummer!

  51. I recently bought a MEC pot, which Miriam assume me was perfect for steaming veggies. But after discovering it took forever just to steam a few veggies, having the pot leak, and severely burning my hand on the too short handle of the really crappy Norpro diffuser they recommend, I decided to go a different route.

    I bought the pyroflam (pyrex) 2L steamer set, made in France, from a retailer in
    England. The bottom piece is a round version of your typical squarish rectangular Pyrex baking pan. The top piece is a clear glass steamer basket and lid that fits on the white bottom piece (it also fits on the 9″ Visions saucepan). The glass steamer basket doesn’t hold quite as much as our old stainless steel steamer pot, but we LOVE it. It works well, is easy to clean, and can go in the dishwasher. If you don’t want the full set, they sell just the glass steamer basket separately.
    Since these are not sold in the US, I bought on eBay from a retailer England (roxy_media). The shipping cost was an unbelievable $6 US dollars to ship either the two piece steamer set or the glass basket to the USA!!! In the US, you couldn’t ship the box across town for that price! I was quite pleased with their service. It took 2-3 weeks for the steamer to arrive. Here are the links for the retailer I used:

    If you are looking for a US retailer for the French made Pyrex baking pans, Bed Bath and Beyond can special order these in (if they don’t have it in stock) for no extra charge if you pick it up at the store. The French pyrex baking pans are still made the old way with the borosilicate sand, so they don’t have the problem with exploding like the ones now sold in the US.

      1. There are several websites addressing the inferiority of soda lime glass over borosilicate. When a seller claims a pot is made of borosilicate, how do we know that it is not soda lime glass sold from outside the US? Is there a way to tell apart soda lime glass from borosilicate without relying on a seller?

        Great blog! Very useful.

        1. My understanding is that the color of the glass varies (at least when it comes to pyrex). The soda-lime glass of current pyrex products has a bluish tint throughout the glass. The borosilicate glass has a yellow tint throughout the glass.

  52. Hi Jay and Irina,

    I do own a few of the MEC pots/pans as well. They used great words in describing their products but I have yet to experience any of the awesome qualities in my food when they are cooked in the clay pots. I also noticed right away the clay taste every time I cook in them. I thought maybe because they’re so new and maybe because I didn’t fully submerge them in water before cooking. I’ve read in other websites that before use you have to fully submerge in water before seasoning–but Miriam’s directions just said to rinse under running water for a few minutes before seasoning. Anyway, I was also very careful with following directions and cooking with wet ingredients only before I use any meats. Finally, after cooking just pasta and brothy meatless soup in my big clay pot, I thought it was seasoned enough to cook a meaty soup. I boiled some chicken in it and the soup tasted pretty good. The clay taste was just a hint this time. Had left overs and had the pot cool down a bit and then I noticed that the pot was perspiring on the bottom with dark brown liquid. My soup was simple chicken based–so nothing brown about it and I only threw in salt, lemon grass, and basil. I decided not to worry too much and then put it in the fridge. Well the next day, I took the pot out and it was leaching because there was a brown puddle in the fridge. It was like as dark as soy sauce but I didn’t use soy sauce and have never used soy sauce in the pot itself. So what could it be? My husband keeps saying that he’s getting less and less impressed with these clay pots. Thank God we haven’t felt sick from using it.
    Also, I have emailed customer service about possibly clay leaching into my food. I have noticed that when I do wash these pots, the water tend to turn slightly brown as in maybe the clay is washing off into the water. If it’s doing that while I’m washing it, then it’s possible that it’s doing that while its being used. CS thought maybe because it wasn’t seasoned enough—-but told her that I used it to cook pasta many times already. The second time I asked questions, CS took over 2 weeks to answer my questions. Wonder if she was trying to ask around for the answer?
    Did you ever find out if the clay pot was leaching out chemicals into your food?

    1. Hi SP: thank you so much for sharing! It is so good to know. I had not used the pot for that long so I was interested to learn what can happen with the longer use. I remember that when I was washing the pot, my sponge turned brown. The fact that I saw that and you saw water discoloration leads to believe there is migration/leaching of clay into food. My understanding is that, normally, ceramic cookware has glaze that, while may contain toxic metals, made into an inert material that produces very minimum leaching and thus safer than unglazed clay cookware such as this one. I was not be able to find what the composition of the clay MEC pots are made of. Since clay comes from the earth, it can have a variety of substances, some of which are not good for us, such as aluminum. By the way, MEC pays commissions to bloggers whose favorable reviews you might have read before buying the products. I, on the other hand, recommend only products that I believe are the best. I am glad you found my honest blog. Stay in touch! ~Irina

      1. What about Europa pots? They have a glass liner on the bottom where the food sits. They also have a test that you can look at. Not sure about the CA prop label though.

    2. My MEC pan was also perspiring/leaking when I was cooking pea soup with it after properly seasoning it as instructed! This “liquid” was not just plain water that dripped onto stove and evaporated – it kept burning when dripping on the stove and after awhile turning brownish too. The smell of “burnt food” was pretty bad in the house and I kept coughing after that all day (and my lungs felt weird – almost like a mild asthma attack) and I got a bad headache! My husband keeps saying this cannot be normal and how can we return it! Ughh… The thing is – the food IN the pan is not burnt at all – it’s the “liquid” that kept leaking out of pan and burning on the stove (or the outside of the pan) that was smelling so aweful! Wish I read your post before I bought this – starting to regreat it already. The whole house has a clay smell too, even after airing out the house for 1-2 hrs.
      Also, anyone else’s MEC pans/pots constantly produce some sort of fumes (it’s not really a steam from hot water) when cooling with it and even when done cooking with it and taken off the stove?
      Also, did not really care for my pea soup from it – ALL the water was gone. These MEC pots/pans maybe are ok for rice or something, but not for stews or soups – they lose ALL the water!
      Not happy so far!

  53. Hard sell? What do you mean exactly?

    Interesting, I’ll definetly check out the Pyrex brand you mentioned and have also been almost sold on le cruesset products – until I read somewhere the company doesn’t use good quality cast iron anymore!? Or are manufactured in Asia somewhere!? One of them two…

    Thanks for your replies and help, look forward to hearing from you.

  54. I just found out recently that Emile Henry is not lead free and does have lead in it when tested. So that’s a bummer because I wanted to purchase some of their stuff. The best I could come up with so far is Pyroflam (from Pyrex) but it’s only available in Europe and may be hard to clean. The pros, however, are that it’s all glass (including the steamer insert) and glass ceramic which is lead free. After that, I would go with the tried & true Le Creuset for skillet and dutch oven. MEC totally sounds like a hard cell and the other one that is all-black ceramic cookware made in China (forget the name), sounds like a hard sell as well.

    1. I’ve heard that of Emile Henry also, although I’ve never been able to contact anyone at Emile Henry to confirm or deny such claims (it could just be angry customers spreading rumors). I’ve also emailed back and forth with Le Creuset and they informed me that their bright colors are not lead free (they claim it is needed to achieve the bright oranges and reds). Also, while some Le Creuset is still made in France some of their products (such as their stoneware) is now being manufactured in China and Thailand.

      1. Hi Emily, thank you for asking. Yes, I like Pyrex and use it a lot. I have not used Pyroflam yet. Have you used it? Glass is the most inert material so it is the safest. Your question inspired me to write a blog post on glass cookware. Stay tuned. ~Irina

      2. Hi Emily, Eliot, one of my blog readers, who is also a restaurant owner and a holistic nutritionist, points out that there is a problem with Pyrex bakeware exploding. It appears that in 1998 Pyrex switched from borosilicate glass to soda lime, which often fails to withstand drastic temperature changes. Pyrex bakeware made for European consumers is still made with borosilicate glass. Read more here:

  55. Hi Irina,

    I was just wondering if you’ve found any new information about this?

    I’ve been using an MEC pot for several months and have not experienced that problem. The first few times I used it, I definitely noticed a smokey smell/taste to the food, but that has gone away, and everything from the pot now tastes great.

    I remember I made a tomato sauce before the pot was fully ‘seasoned,’ and there was a lot of perspiration on the bottom of the pot, and it seemed to be leaking. I reached out to their customer service, and they said “It’s recommended that you use the pot for several hours of cooking only after it’s used at least 5-6 times cooking wet recipes that take less than an hour.” So I am wondering if making the bone broth before the pot was fully seasoned was part of the problem. I hope these pots prove safe as I love cooking with it.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. Thanks for being such a great advocate!

    1. Hmm… Maybe… I am glad that the pot worked for you. I decided to stop experimenting with it and gave it away. I am curious who you spoke with when you said “customer service.” In my experience, Miriam is the only one who answers the phone. I spoke with her multiple times and she never mentioned that to me. I remember that the pot had to be used 5-6 times before you can start making food without using oil. Anyway, I do not want to risk getting sick again. But thank you for sharing your experience!

  56. If you still have the clay pot around I’d take it. My sister is a biologist and might be able to tell more about it’s composition. She loves natural materials but is also very concerned about safety of today’s cookware options. I live in CA though so not sure if that’s too far to send it.

  57. Irina,
    Still go back to my original proposal to you. You’ll never get the truth from business people. We need to find a socially minded scientist or food chemist to assist in this search for clean, healthy cookware. We can all chip in a little. I will.

    1. Hi Eliot: I agree! I hope we will “catch the right person with my blog” soon 🙂 By the way, you will be pleased to know that I am going to Hawaii next week and I am planning to unplug for almost 10 days. It is going to be the first time for me in 2.5 years.

  58. Hi Irina,
    I wish your article had come out a couple of months ago when I started looking at safe cookware options. Reviews on these MEC pots were hard to come by. The only thing I found consistently would be a lone user comment in a “healthy” cookware article that would say how much the user loved his/her MEC cookware.
    But after reading through the MEC site, I thought I would give one a try. These pots cost a pretty penny, but the website claimed that they were fully tested and certified to be free of lead, cadmium and heavy metals. Plus, they are made in the USA.
    My experience? The clay did affect the taste of my stew, and the stew affected the smell of the clay pot. My family and I did not experience any ill effects as you did, but I found taking care of the pot required more time than I wanted. Plus, even after cleaning the pot several times, it still gave off a smell in my kitchen. I, too, have a free pot for anyone who wants it.

  59. Wow! Thank you for sharing your experience. I haven’t gotten down the path of clay cookware, but have considered it. I did find it a bit peculiar that she would not share the proprietary blend. I understand it could be what sets her clay cookware apart, but it also makes it seem like there could be some answers to the reaction you had. I hope she does her own research so she can answer your questions in the future.

    1. Hi Judith: I often find that my experiences differ from the green blogger community. I do not do that on purpose. 🙂 Thank you for sharing. It is your review I found I was looking around the Internet for more information on MEC. Thanks!

      1. I’m glad you are honest! But I’m sorry that you didn’t have a better experience with it.
        I take multi-vitamins and probiotics daily as well. I wish I had a better answer for why you experienced what you did!

  60. I am so curious I almost want to try it myself!! I would check a urine test for heavy metals $60. Fascinating! There are some people who have an immune reaction to some substances. So it could be that most people don’t have a reaction to this pot, but a few might.

      1. Hello,I am from India here rustic people uses earthenware ,but they don’t know what it is ,here authorities promote it because it is traditional piece.I think it contains heavy metal impurities,where the collecting site of clay.New earthenware has a clay aftertaste , overheating also causes it.

        1. Hi, thank you for this information. I have been fighting bone marrow cancer since 2/2013 and always refused treatment, all holistic.
          I have been researching healthy cookware, I thought this was perfect. Please let me know your thoughts on healthy cookware.

    1. After I read your post I hesitated a bit to buy these pots but my sister has been insisting that I do (they have the whole set and love it). When I finally bought them I regretted that I had waited so long. I was so wrong, these pots are really good. I’ve never tasted food so good, the lentils, beans, vegetables, grains, meats all come out fantastic! There are 2 things that I did that made me go for it… I looked through their site thoroughly and found the test results for the complete composition of the clay and there is no arsenic in the clay (this is the only cookware i found that did such a thorough testing and this is tested in the USA). And b. Since I live not very far from their workshop I visited them and was amazed at how hard they work to make a pure and uncontaminated product. If you know primary clay you will know that it does not have any heavy metals and that is what they use… their clay is 100% natural primary clay. The ceramic (or artificial clay) is what has heavy metals including arsenic and that is why glaze is used in the 1st place.

      Yes, they are pricey but totally worth it. We now cook all our food in these pots and so do a lot of my other family members.

      1. Miram Earthenware should post complete Soil test to include all metals, minerals and picking lead and couple of other items. Further the soil Full test report should confirm of noted PPM contents to be in FDA limits for human consumption. I do agree they have a great product and have gone to lengths to find soil not farmed for 200 years and not within 15 miles of any chemical dumping and not use the first 25 feet of dug soil. This ambiguity should be removed and I will replace all my cookware with their units. I do not prefer glazing as feldspar (very toxic cancer causing) and glass, mica are sometimes used to glaze the pot. I do not want to take the chance of any leaching in food. My grandmother used to cook in earth pots and after years of use the smell of clay goes away. Japanese cook milk and rice the first time to seal the pores a bit as i read it.