Are Cockroaches Really in Your Favorite Washington Ground Coffee?
My wife loves coffee, but if a rumor I heard is true about bug parts and ground coffee that could change. So is it true?
What is the Truth About Ground Coffee and Cockroaches?
The rumor started with information from Dr. Douglas Emlen, an entomologist, during an interview with NPR around 2020. Warning, if you are afraid of the answer to this question you might want to stop reading right now.
What Did Dr Emlen Tell NPR?
In the interview, Dr Emlen was being asked about beetles for a story they were doing. In the interview, he brought up how cockroaches were found in ground coffee after making them drive to a place that grinds their own beans. He is allergic to cockroaches and gets sick when he drinks regular ground coffee. He says the cockroaches get into the batches of beans and they are impossible to completely remove them. You can listen to the whole interview by clicking here. His comments happen around the 38th minute. Is it really true though?
Last Warning: Turn back Now
Ok, Turns out that there is truth to the rumor. I couldn't;t find any instances where any coffee company was in trouble for bug parts in their ground coffee, but that is because a small amount is ACTUALLY LEGAL and approved by the FDA. How much is ok you ask?
How Much Bug is FDA Approved for Ground Coffee?
A report done by CNN with the FDA shows that "4% to 6% of beans by count are also allowed to be insect-infested or moldy." That means if you have 1,000 pounds of coffee beans, 60 pounds of it could be contaminated with bug parts and still be fine.
What Bug Parts Are Allowed by the FDA?
The FDA says that food products including ground coffee can contain the "presence of any live or dead life cycle stages of insects in a host product, (e.g., weevils in pecans, fly eggs and maggots in tomato products); or evidence of their presence (i.e., excreta, cast skins, chewed product residues, urine, etc.); or the establishment of an active breeding population, (e.g., rodents in a grain silo)" but only in certain amounts.
Are Cockroaches Really in Ground Coffee?
It is possible that some cockroaches are found in ground coffee, but it is more likely other bugs. The FDA says the bugs that are most likely found in coffee grounds are the "coffee berry borer beetle and the coffee bean weevil" and not cockroaches. If you have a problem with those facts, just remember that only 6% are infected. Don't worry because that couldn't be any more than part of a leg or antennae per cup of coffee but it does mean that means the rumor is at least partly true! Terro also did a study about this subject and estimated that the average person eats 140,000 pieces of insect matter per year. See, the coffee is just the tip of the bug iceberg.
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