Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Where's the Corn allergy in Coffee?

Do you wake up in the morning and grab a steaming cup of coffee before you head to work? Get a coffee fix for your morning break?

Seems normal right? Its brewed roasted beans, so what could be wrong with that?

Everyday, we avid corn avoiders find our foods constantly being contaminated with corn. And coffee is one of them.

For years now, many of us have known the dangers of places like Starbucks with their wicked corn-lined disposable coffee cups, the corn-based "natural" flavors they add, or other contaminates. But now before us looms a scarier villain.


You may think.. “Well of course I know maltodextrin comes from corn, but what does this have to do with my morning coffee?”

They’re putting maltodextrin in your coffee.

In our time of convenience foods, conveyor belts, prepackaging, grab-n-go lifestyle.. Companies are finding new and cheaper ways to process food into these easy time saving conveniences.

According to a Canadian corn farmers site in Ontario, corn IS in your coffee. And here is why:

“Maltodextrins are derived from the wet milling process. They are a dextrose equivalent product of complete solubility but little or no sweetness. Maltodextrins are sprayed on instant tea and coffee to keep the granules free flowing. This solution is also used in instant soup mixes or other packages where the contents must be kept free flowing.”

Now while you think that you’re safe because you don’t drink instant, keep reading.

According to Jewish Kosher research:“Decaffeinated coffee is produced by soaking the green beans in a solvent that removes virtually all of the caffeine, after which the beans are dried and subsequently roasted. Chemicals used for this process include methylene chloride, ethyl acetate, super critical carbon dioxide, and carbonated water.”

That just makes you want to go grab a cup of decaf now doesn’t it? MMmm yummy chemicals and one of those comes from corn.

Wikipedia: Ethyl acetate is an ester that is synthesized from acetic acid and ethanol in the presence of strong acids like concentrated sulfuric acid in an esterification reaction.

Ethanol = corn. All you have to do is watch those new GM commercials to figure that out.

But what about your regular coffee?

“As such, some authorities insist on a Hashgacha for all roasted coffee for Pesach, since both regular and decaffeinated beans are typically roasted on the same equipment. .” (hashgacha = kosher supervision)

It’s roasted on the same equipment.

Other concerns about coffee also may include:

”Historically, when coffee became very expensive, manufacturers had added less flavorful, but more economical, vegetation to their product, including chicory and grain that, when roasted with coffee, produced an acceptable product. While chicory poses no Kashrus concern for Pesach, roasted grains would be considered Chometz and, although the use of such additives would be indicated on the product label, they are also roasted in the same equipment as regular coffee.”

And one of those grains very well could be corn. As corn has been used for decades as an early Native American “coffee”.

As a footnote, I do have to thank the Jewish religion and its followers for their intense research into foods and how they’re made. For those of us with grain (corn) allergies, they’re information is an honest God-send.

Another site for more info: A 2006 document on Corn Refining Industry Product Use lists corn starch and corn dextrins as being in rice and coffee polish. (Page 36)

More info on how beans are processed: ZeCuppa Coffee - Coffee Terms Farming/Processing


Anonymous said...

So, does this mean a corn allergic person can buy coffee at Passover and it will be safe?

Von said...

Kosher for Passover coffee, I would assume would be safe. There are sects of Judaism that allow certain corn things into KFP products like corn syrup. So you may want to check with the manufacturer of KFP coffee to double check.

purple_kangaroo said...

I wonder about the special kind of coffee that's supposedly decaffeinated using only pure water.

Von said...

I found a link to locate brands which use that process.


If you feel like trying them out and guinea pigging it for us, let us know how it works out.

Greg said...

everything that I have read leads me to believe maltodextrin isnt a problem for corn allergic persons, for the most part. You are allergic to a protein in the corn, which isnt present in maltodextrin. Try food elimination to find out.

Von said...

Greg, I wish my body would believe everything I read as well. Unfortunately it doesn't. I react to even the smallest little things which aren't supposed to have the vile corn protein, but my body says otherwise.

So either there is still corn protein in it, or I react to more than just the protein.

Believe me blind tests have been done. :)

Mary said...

so is there a corn free coffee I can buy?

Anonymous said...

I think both Greg and Von have "normal" corn allergies. I'm really sensitive to things that have corn syrup, starch, etc. but I can eat products with corn meal in them.

I suspect it has a lot to do with the amount of what triggers my reaction(s). Every once in a while I have a mystery reaction and I suspect that it is because of the total accumulation over shorter periods of time 3-5 day periods.

My wife is allergic to potatoes. So allergic that vodka made from potatoes (some is made from other stuff like grain alcohol) will make her react. She could have a very small amount (like 1/2 an ounce) in a mixed drink and have a reaction in the next 6-12 hours.

So I think those of us that aren't hyper sensitive, should count our blessings.

sea otter said...

Gosh this is helpful! I just had a horrid and really powerful reaction to something I had for lunch and here I am 6h later, trying to regain consciousness, and searching labels. This reaction feels like a REALLY bad corn one. I know I am allergic to corn and I curse its sneaky entrance into foods that I considered safe. So, here I am shaking my head and reading: Milk, cream, strawberries, carrageenan, salt, maltodextrin, rice, vanilla, sugar, sunflower oil. WOW to the maltodextrin! THANKS

Anonymous said...

It's a shame we have to live like this. I eat the same meal every meal every day. Been doing it for 13 months now. Docs don't have enough knowledge to really help me. I know my body is not getting the nourishment it needs. So a lot of times I feel bad. Fainted last yr and almost fainted quiet a few times. Slow heartbeat all the time. Nobody helps me. I'm allergic to corn and egg whites. I'm mainly worried about the corn. C