Debra Lynn Dadd

Pesticide Residues in Brewed Coffee

QUESTION:

You said that roasted coffee beans contain pesticides, but I'm not finding anything that verifies that. I'm finding plenty that suggests the coffee fields and outer plants are full of pesticides but, as I understand it, the bean itself is then soaked, fermented, dried, and roasted. Although it's clear that the pesticides are harmful to the workers and environment, I'm not finding harm via pesticides from drinking it. Do you know any studies? I've looked at a number of sites with no luck. Thanks for your help.

POSTED BY DOROTHY :: TENNESSEE USA :: 12/11/2006 9:03 AM


DEBRA'S ANSWER:

This from Natural Resources Defense Council should answer your question:
http://www.nrdc.org/health/farming/ccc/chap4.asp

"In 1983, the Natural Resources Defense Council retained the services of an outside contract laboratory to conduct independent testing on imported coffee beans.[41] The analysis revealed multiple pesticide residues on all samples when green coffee beans were tested using detection methods many times more precise than the FDA procedures (see Table 6). The roasting process reduced detectable levels of pesticide residues on the bean samples; however, the test of one sample of the Brazilian coffee beans retained the original level of DDD (the toxic metabolite of DDT) that had been detected on the beans before roasting.[42] It should be noted that while DDT is rarely used on coffee today, other chemicals are used to combat insect pests, weeds, and diseases."

Note it says "reduced" not "eliminated" but still the levels are very high compared to food because so much pesticide is used.

I don't have any documents that show an association between drinking coffee with pesticide residues and human harm, but the environmental impact of these pesticides is great in terms of pollution and also cause illness and death in farm workers.

I also thought this was interesting from Coffee Review:
http://www.coffeereview.com/reference.cfm?ID=121

"Buy a traditional coffee, grown as coffee was grown from its inception, before agricultural chemicals were invented. All Yemen, almost all Ethiopia, and most Sumatra Mandheling coffees are grown in such a state of innocence, and all are among the world's finest."

I didn't know about these coffees grown in the traditional way, I only knew about organic and sustainable coffees.

Debra :-)


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