Does your coffee have cockroaches? Ours does not


A few days ago, a news item put coffee lovers on alert: your coffee could have cockroaches in it. Zacharin Rubin, an allergy specialist at the Oak Brook Clinic in Illinois, commented on a video saying that if you have a shellfish allergy, you may also have a coffee allergy.



The crux of the matter is that coffee may contain insects from the fields where it is grown and the places where it is stored. Food safety laws in both Europe and the United States accept that various products such as coffee, flour or cocoa may contain traces of insects. This means that the content would be tiny, probably invisible, but if analyzed, the presence of insects would be detected. Thus, the U.S. food safety agency states that up to 10% of green coffee contains some amount of insects.

But what set off the hare was a possible allergy to coffee because of the cockroaches that may be present. It turns out that cockroaches and crustaceans and mollusks, for those things of animal evolution, are more similar than we think and share certain similarities. One of them is a protein called tropomyosin, present in both groups of animals, which is the most common allergen.

Allergist Zacharin Rubin explained that people allergic to shellfish could develop allergy symptoms after drinking coffee with cockroaches. He clarified that no study has been done to prove this but that, without hesitation, the theory tells us that shellfish allergy sufferers should watch for any symptoms after drinking coffee and, if so, consult a doctor.

As nutritionist and dietician Natalia Celma explains, "the phenomenon whereby cockroaches and shellfish cause the same allergy is known as cross-reactivity because they share the proteins that cause the allergy". And it also happens in other cases: "people allergic to mites are often more likely to be allergic to crustaceans". It could even happen with worms, as pointed out by researchers Torres, Martínez and Tejero of the Pediatric Allergology and Pneumology Unit of the Reina Sofía Maternal-Children's University Hospital of Cordoba.

The good news is that if you suffer from this allergy, the solution is easy: buy specialty coffee. Our coffee director, Fran González, says it clearly: "there are no cockroaches in specialty coffee". He says that in the bags of low-quality pre-ground coffee, especially the cheaper ones, it is possible to find traces of vegetable matter such as splinters, small stones, fruits of other crops that grow next to the coffee and, probably, some insects.

So now you know: if you only want coffee in your coffee, take a look at our coffee menu or, better yet, treat yourself to a monthly subscription to NOMAD COFFEE.