Update: Response To Recent Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Article On Diacetyl

Author: Matt Earley — April 8, 2016

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently released a follow-up article on the presence of two potentially harmful chemicals present in coffee roasting and grinding. In the past these chemicals– Diacetyl and 2,3-Pentanedione– have only been associated with artificial flavoring in coffee, something we do not do at Just Coffee. When we were originally contacted by the MJS and asked about these chemicals, we had no idea that they are a potential problem in the roasting and grinding process– it is an emerging issue and we are concerned. After the article was published w e immediately contacted the Center for Disease Control’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (CDC-NIOSH). In July 2015 we became the first specialty coffee roaster in the US to have NIOSH in our facility giving them full access to our staff and facilities to test for theses compounds. 

Part of the model we have constructed for ourselves is a core of transparency and openness as well as a deep belief that everyone who makes our business go– from farmer to JCC worker to customer– is part of our community and key to our success. We embraced the chance to learn more about this issue and to do everything we can to ensure the safety of all of the people who work here. Last week we received NIOSH’s  interim report on our facility. They confirmed the findings of the MJS and have given us some good ideas about mitigation techniques moving forward. They also recently returned for a last round of testing and are preparing  final recommendations for making sure that our facilities are safe for our staff.

We are pleased to have worked with NIOSH to measure levels of Diacetyl and 2,3-Pentanedione in our coffee roasting process and with the MJS to help them spread the word about this important topic . We do not agree with coffee roasters who say that diacetyl is a “non-issue,” and we are committed to making sure our workers are safe as well as to advancing knowledge and best safety practices within our industry and we urge our fellow roasters to do the same. As always, we are 100% dedicated to high quality coffee produced ethically and safely.