Coffee is known to have many health benefits, like decreasing risk of cancer and increasing athletic performance, but some (BulletProof Coffee) are claiming that coffee is moldy and is full of toxins that are dangerous to your health. Let’s clear a few things up about this.
Coffee is just the seed of a fruit. It must be de-pulped then washed and dried before being roasted. Like most consumables, coffee does have the ability to grow mold if left in the right conditions. A peach seed with fruit still clinging to it would also mold and rot. This is why coffee is washed and dried throughly before roasting. We’re not saying mold does grow on raw coffee, but it is possible. Keep in mind that it’s in the best interest of the farmer to produce the best quality coffee. Coffee is scored and graded on how it looks as well as how it tastes- and it is graded when it leaves the farmers hands. The farmer is paid BASED on the quality test that his coffee goes through- so he’s likely to do the best job possible washing and drying that coffee before taking it to market because his income relies on it. IF mold were to grow on the coffee, the mold COULD potentially produce mycotoxins, which are poisonous and harmful if you consume a lot of it. This is the foundation for Bulletproof Coffee claims on mycotoxins in coffee.
The truth is, 100 countries (including the US) have regulations to ensure any food exported or imported have safe mycotoxin levels. In the U.S. this goes so far as to include feed for our animals. Mycotoxins are in most foods, so it is impossible to avoid consuming them all together. Thanks to these regulations, mycotoxin levels in coffee and any other crops will never be high enough to cause any health damage.
From www.usda.gov “The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is responsible for protecting public health by ensuring the safety and security of our nation’s domestic food supply. FDA has established regulatory limits concerning mycotoxins present in food, grain, or animal feed for both domestic and export shipments. These limits provide an adequate margin of safety to protect human and animal health. FDA states these limits in the form of acceptable levels, action levels, and advisory levels for different mycotoxins that may be consumed by humans and different species of animals.”
Mycotoxins are not just found in coffee though, they are found in almost every crop out there, including wheat, spices and even beer. Mycotoxin’s have also been used in medications like Penicillin. In one study, 100% of people tested positive for Ochratoxin A, a type of mycotoxin, and it was even found in breast milk. But Bulletproof Coffee is not mentioning that mycotoxins are found in nearly all foods and that their levels are checked and regulated by the FDA. or that the levels are so low in the foods that they allow into the US that you would never notice. Instead a fear tactic is used to get consumers to purchase their coffee.
Like we said earlier, mold can grow on the beans when they are raw. Some claim that the way beans are processed is how the mold grows and the mycotoxins are released. However, all coffee beans must be washed and dried before roasted, it’s just how coffee works. Some farmers dry their beans the natural way, by laying them out in the sun. Some bigger companies use huge driers to dry the beans faster. Either way works and we don’t know of anyone doing it differently to decrease mycotoxin levels in coffee. Bulletproof coffee simply states on their website that “Bulletproof Coffee is created and tested using the proprietary Bulletproof Process™ to create a coffee that is tested to be lower in mold toxins that inhibit human performance…” But BulletProof will NOT say how their coffee is processed any differently then ALL other coffee beans around the world. They also admit that “The statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the FDA (U.S. Food & Drug Administration).” so they have NO proof that their proprietary process actually reduces the mycotoxin level at all.
Coffee is roasted at over 500 degrees, which kills any mold and most of the mycotoxins left on the beans. Some studies even showed that roasting coffee can reduce mycotoxin levels in the beans by 90%. Remember all those countries that regulate the mycotoxin levels in the exported/imported coffee? Those levels are measured in the raw beans, so it is likely the levels are even lower in your roasted coffee beans you end up buying.
One of the claims is true, decaf coffee does contain more mycotoxins than caffeinated coffee. This is because caffeine naturally fights off mold, so when that is removed from the bean it becomes more defenseless. However, decaf coffee is put to the same standard as everything else and still must have safe mycotoxin levels to be sold to consumers. So it may have more mycotoxins, but still a safe amount.
Overall, studies have found that the health benefits of coffee greatly outweigh the negative effects. Any actual mold on coffee beans would be cooked off in the roasting process, and any mycotoxins in your daily cup of coffee are much too low to cause any negative health effects or for you to even notice. The FDA assures it.