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Response to MJS Article on Diacetyl in Coffee Roasting

Over the weekend The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel released an 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 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.

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. We are excited to be the first specialty coffee roaster in the US to work with the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC)– National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) team to do extensive testing and to help design any mitigation practices that need to happen.

We are pleased to have worked with the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel to raise awareness about the danger of diacetyl in the coffee roasting process. 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. Just Coffee Cooperative has already scheduled these federal safety tests–we will share the results of those tests with the Journal-Sentinel and the public–and we urge our fellow roasters to do the same. As always, we are 100% dedicated to high quality coffee produced ethically and safely.