Coffee and Bugs

If a bug drowns in your coffee, should you still drink it? This post from thewhirlygirl struck me. My quick answer is, certainly not. Not in my wildest dream. In desperate situation maybe. The natural course of actions is throw it away and get a replacement. Plus, cursing of the poor bug several times. We never considered that it never did anything wrong. Its the coffee that was in its way.

coffee and plastic drinking cup

How can anyone stomach it. The usual insect accidentally fall into our beloved coffee, tea or whatever it maybe is “housefly”. It is considered one of the dirtiest insect because of its tendency to alight to virtually anything. It is likely to carry a lot of microorganisms including E. coli. If it is a housefly, the outright choice is not. For other bugs, such as small beetle, we usually consider the removal and continue drinking. For large beetles, moth, butterfly and if so unlucky, cockroach. The action is discontinue.

Just a small side note. We usually don’t mind if insects land to our solid food. Driving them away repeatedly often suffice.

Let’s go back to my professor’s lesson. He said, we should be thankful if we found a live crawling worm in our freshly bought leafy vegetables. It signifies commodity safety. If the tiny creature lives in it then perhaps it is safe to eat. It was not sprayed with harmful chemicals during the growth period. I am not telling it is okay to throw a handful of bugs in your coffee. Instead, it is not as bad as we think.

Food buying decision is base on the following. Is it delicious? Is it healthy? Is it safe? Is it clean? Could it be stored longer? Well, if you highly prioritize cleanliness, think again. Food regulatory authorities never set zero tolerance on any contaminants.

For example, canned juice may contain up to 5 fly eggs per 250 ml. Cacao bean may have up to 4% mold count. Less than 10% insect and insect filth in coffee beans is fine and yet we immediately throw away the hot coffee with drowned fly. There are more of these thing at USFDA defect levels handbook. Our local regulatory has its own version. However, it is harder to find. And in case you do, there is no guarantee it is the latest.

To depth of my knowledge, cleanest production plants are semiconductor manufacturing. Strictly zero contaminants allowed. Products that are obviously not edible.

Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.