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Apr 11, 2010 07:53 AM

Terre d'umbria lead content

I was in TJ Maxx last week and picked up a 4 quart oval covered baker made in Italy by Terre D'Umbria for $20. [The LC model is $90] Following its instructions, I soaked it in hot soapy water and then put in dishwasher before first use. I decided to use it for no-knead bread. I pre-heated the baker and was removing it to place the dough and noticed a white powdery substance on the outside of the lid. The inside of the lid was as was the inside of the baker, clean. Long story short, a web search informed me that that substance on the outside of the lid was undoubtedly -- lead -- leaching from the glaze. Luckily none of it touched my bread which was encased in two layers of parchment. I am returning this to TJ Maxx and have contacted them to remove this product from their shelves. Has anyone else had this issue?

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  1. i have just purchased several pieces in the orange glaze from TJ Maxx and was really looking forward to using these nut since reading your post I am going to be returning all of them tomorrow

    1. Hi... I just bought a lead kit from Home Depot & tested the pieces I bought before I returned them & the test came back negative. Can you tell me which color you bought? I had purchased the orange ones & followed the instruction for washing them & then I placed a few pieces in the oven & did not see any powder substance.

      4 Replies
      1. re: pansy

        I'd be interested to know if the issue is with glaze color and not all De Silva products. After reading Paula Wolfert's "Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking" cover to cover, I was tempted by a bright orange cazuela. She suggested that modern earthenware/stoneware is carefully regulated and should be safe (and here I thought being made in Italy was practically a letter of recommendation); but I'm not cooking with it until I buy a lead testing kit.

        1. re: whiskeyhead

          Modern earthware cookware sold in US should be carefully regulated. California has the toughest regulation in term of lead. However, it does not exclude decorated earthware. Lead is particularly harmful to children. I would be very surprised if these earthware has such a high level of lead.

          1. re: whiskeyhead

            I checked a few other TJ Maxx stores (in CT)--all of which carried at least a few pieces of Terre D'Umbria. Lots of covered casseroles--all red, including the interior/cooking surface, whereas the orange and brown pieces have a terra cotta-colored interior (glazed, not natural). I'm still dumbfounded by the white powder. If it's imported to the US it *should* not contain lead, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

            Just to play devil's advocate, could the white residue be from the dishwasher? Apparently there's a salt additive in some cleaning tabs that can do this.

            1. re: whiskeyhead

              I recently purchased a few pieces (bowls/casserole ) of Terre D'Umbria from TJMAX. After purchasing these items, I found this link stating that these products may contain lead. So I contacted TJMAX and the Italian Trade Commission based on this. The Italian Trade Commission contacted the manufacturer De Silva and here is their response.

              We have received an email back from the Italian manufacturer De Silva. They have assured us that they test their products daily for lead and cadmium specifically because the products come in contact with food.
              They do recommend to wash the bowls thoroughly after usage, not because they contain lead, but because terracotta is a material which absorbs food odor very quickly.
              If you still do not feel safe, however, please proceed as you feel comfortable. Should you have any other questions regarding this or any Italian products, please do not hesitate to contact us. We hope that you enjoy the bowls you have purchased.

              Best Regards,
              Italian Trade Commission - Atlanta
              Tel: 404-525-0660

        2. Coming from Europe I would be skeptical that there is lead in the glaze. The EU has some of the most strict chemical regulations and the use of lead in other forms has long been baned. On the other hand, had it come from China, there would be no surprise. Before a general panic is started it would sure be interesting to have that white powder analized to see what it is. I'm not an expert, but I would be surprised if lead leaches out in the drying cycle of the dishwasher to the extent it would leave a powder residue. Unless it was properly tested, I don't think you can make a determination by just a web search.

          5 Replies
          1. re: mikie

            I heard about the lead content in stoneware dishes from China, so i got rid of most. I started picking up Le Creuset because i thought it was all made in France. I bought a really expensive baker from Amazon and when it came there was a sticker that said made in Thailand. Nowhere on the site does it say anything about the creation process. And of course when you call LC, the line is busy and sends you to voicemail. I can't find anything anywhere about the enameled stoneware bakers, and to me if you don't have a disclaimer, then anything goes and you can't hold them to it. Does anyone know about the LC bakers? If you are paying that kind of money should you expect they are lead free? And what is the difference with enameled? Like i said, can't find anything on the LC website.

            1. re: pjpgreen

              Every item on the Le Creuset website lists a country of origin. It's right there, below the warranty, on the item info page.

              To be sure, it doesn't list the composition of the stoneware, or the cast iron, but I know of no company that does that.

              EDIT - Oh, hell. Old thread, never mind.

            2. re: mikie

              I wonder if, in fact, the lead content is why the product is being sold in discount stores in the USA?

              1. re: crayonscoobydoo

                Le Creuset, Staub and All-Clad appear more often at TJMaxx than these Italian ceramics. Of late I'm seeing an unusual concentration of French copper pans.

                My impression is that stores like this sell clearance, last season, over stock, and other things to don't sell well enough in other US stores. There's no indication that they import items from Europe specifically for sale at discount prices.

              2. I know this is an older thread but I just bought a Terre D'Umbria piece at TJ Maxx last week. It looks kind of like a large onion soup bowl, with a long sturdy handle on one side. It is bright yellow with a shiny glazed orangey terra cotta color interior. The bottom is unglazed terra cotta. It is marked "Made in Italy."

                Anyone have an update on whether the Terre D'Umbria products contain lead? I bought the bowl before seeing this thread, but I'm sure I could return it.

                1 Reply
                1. re: goodeatsgal

                  I have a few of these terre d'umbra pieces as RED. I am not sure what the technical term is but terra cotta "breathes".

                  I put some water and a little baking soda in one of these pots the other night. The next day the outside of it was covered with white crystalline looking stuff. It had migrated from the inside to the outside of the vessel just as if it weren't solid. This is what I jean by "breathing".

                2. Dear Sirs,
                  We are the producers of the Terre d'Umbria earthenwares.
                  We would like to reply directly to the various messages written into this blog.
                  In our opinion it is not correct to put these negatives information if a person does not know the real main characteristics of our ceramicware products.
                  In fact we would like to say that our products are continuously tested also by the American Fda and they are absolutely safe for cooking and serving foods.
                  Please understand that the only tip we always advice is about the washing and drying way since due to the porosity of the material that absorbs the foods odour it is possible to prevent the formation of the bad smell release thanks to the dishwasher ofr an accurate washing and drying of the material.However we rest at our customers' disposal for every doubt they may need.

                  Best regards

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: DeSilvaceramiche

                    Hii ,
                    I love your product. I would like to purchase 12 more of the red bowls that I purchased at TJMaxx.
                    Where do I buy these please?