Question:

Dear Rabbonim,

I read recently that it’s a little known food industry truth that ground coffee contains — sorry to gross people out — ground up cockroaches.

(Source: https://sprudge.com/dont-worry-there-are-acceptable-levels-of-ground-up-cockroaches-in-coffee-tins-152088.html?fbclid=IwAR3UDhEfatnRw9DljipkFJptN523yJ1B1YOhBPoKAidVe-odMVrR98SLAI4)

Basically, the article claims (citing a podcast interview with a professor) that coffee bean stashes are prone to infestation and, as there is no industrial process to remove the cockroaches, they are simply ground in with the beans – in small quantities of course.

The FDA, in the US, sets a rather high limit on the degree of “insect filth AND INSECTS” which can be in coffee — 10% of the dry weight apparently.

My question is how this fits into the Torah prohibition on not consuming bugs.

We obviously don’t know for sure whether a particular batch of grown coffee has ground up bugs in it but it seems likely. Does אחד בשישים apply? Is there a concern?

Answer:

Pretty bugged up question. Aside for the fact that personally I don’t believe that this is true, (coffee companies do not want to ruin the taste of their coffee with any outside flavorings) even if it were, it is not a problem. Whatever might be there, is botil in many more than sixty, (even if hypothetically there would be more than 1.4% bugs, which I am sure it isn’t, there is a lot of water there that it would be a lot more than shishim. Additionally it is also nosain taam lifgam.

Tags: bugs

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