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September 05, 1996|CHARLES PERRY

Spill the Unwine

The Times' Sunday Calendar has written about Dead Red, the nonalcoholic wine labeled with the Grateful Dead's "Steal Your Face" (skull-and-lightning) logo. It's made by Delicato Winery of Manteca, Calif., halfway between Stockton and Modesto, doing business as Long Strange Trip Beverage Co. Available in Southland stores last week, it's the first of five Grateful Dead Collector's Series "unwines" to be released between now and Christmas.

Now, Sunday Calendar reported the story only from a music biz angle. We're the Food section, and it's our job to taste it. Here are our notes:

Dark purple color; nose has jam-like grape character. Skull-and-lightning logo is stamped on cork in nine places. Sweet, very mildly tannic flavor; basically tastes like Welch's Grape Juice, maybe with a little Zinfandel in it. Stains clothes amazingly.

Dangerous Remedies

Lisa Yeager is the lead education coordinator with the University of California Cooperative Extension (that's lead-rhymes-with-dead, not lead-rhymes-with-deed). She warns that some home remedies contain lead and are poisonous. Many families have used a bright orange powder known as Azarcon, Alarcon, Rueda Coral, Maria Luisa or Liga and a yellow-green powder known as Greta to treat an intestinal illness known as empacho. Both powders are nearly 100% lead and instead of curing will slowly damage kidneys, nervous system and brain.

Other traditional home remedies containing lead include Ghasard, a brown powder given as an aid to digestion, and Bala Goli, a fat black bean dissolved in "gripe water" and used for stomachache. Both have been used by East Indians. The Hmong community has also used a red lead-based powder called Pay-loo-Ah for rash or fever.

Yeager cautions that children younger than 6 are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning. They may seem tired or suffer from sleeplessness, irritability, stomachache and vomiting. If a child has been treated with one of these home remedies, she suggests calling a doctor, clinic or local health department and requesting a test of the child's blood lead level.

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