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Clean Label Project Finds Traces Of Methyl Chloride In Major Coffee Brands

The Clean Label Project’s mission to analyse & raise awareness of chemicals in everyday consumer products.

The full Report can be found here:

https://cdn1.cleanlabelproject.org/app/uploads/20200115024034/CLP-Decaf-Coffee-White-Paper.pdf

As part of this study, the Clean Label Project (CLP) analysed dozens of well-known decaffeinated coffee brands to see if Methylene Chloride (a powerful solvent and the active ingredient in paint stripper) was present in these decaf coffee brands.

Methylene chloride or dichloromethane is a colourless liquid chlorinated hydrocarbon. It is often used as a solvent in paint removers, a solvent in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, and as a degreasing and blowing agent for industrial use.

But what is the Methylene Chloride Process (MCP) of Decaffeination?

[Disclaimer: Blue Spruce Decaf Coffee Co. Decaf does NOT roast Methylene Chloride Process decaffeinated coffees. We only roast Swiss Water Decaf Coffees, which is 100% chemical free and certified organic.]

This is still how the majority of coffee is decaffeinated globally. Almost all instant coffee is decaffeinated using the methylene chloride process.

If there's no mention of how the coffee was decaffeinated on the Package, again, it's almost certain to be methylene chloride solvent process. 

The method of solvent decaffeination is as follows:

  • First, the coffee beans are treated with steam to draw the caffeine from the inner coffee bean to the outer surface area of the bean.
  • Methylene Chloride is applied directly to the beans. As a chemical solvent, MC removes the caffeine.
  • Then steam is applied to the coffee beans again to drive out residual solvent.
  • Finally, the beans are dried and roasted, which removes any further residues of the chemical solvent.

So, how were the coffee brand samples tested?

CLP used an accredited analytical chemistry laboratory to blind test a large range of decaffeinated roast coffee brands.

The decaf coffee samples were then sampled into tubes and numbered (with the number corresponding to CLP records to keep impartiality).

So, what were the results?

It’s best to review the results at:

https://cdn1.cleanlabelproject.org/app/uploads/20200115024034/CLP-Decaf-Coffee-White-Paper.pdf

Or you can see a summary of the results below:

Clean Label Project Methylene Chloride Decaffeination Decaffeinated Coffee Analysis

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