Here's an email I received in reply to this article.
I read with interest your article here on coffee. While I agree that the brewing process for coffee can possibly kill the mold itself, it's the mycotoxins that it produces that are heat stable. And herein lies the problem. The reason Dave felt bad after consuming the "moldy" coffee was because of the mycotoxins. Therefore, I agree that at the very least, ALL coffee should be tested for mold, especially the organic, fair trade stuff. We pay a premium for an organic product and I believe that that should also include mold testing as that is an area of concern for quite a lot of folks, myself included. Everyone should care about mold contamination. Most people have no idea what mold is doing to us. It is very, very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. Because of this, (mold) I have had to stop drinking coffee, which I thoroughly enjoy by the way, even though I didn't start drinking it until I hit 50. (Go figure!)
I'm sure that you probably have little interest in the the little fuzzy stuff to give it much thought, but mold IS toxic in any form. Even antibiotics cause our guts SERIOUS harm and it might not be until 15 or 20 years later that you actually discover the effect that the antibiotics you took as a kid are affecting you now. I wish more people were informed about the toxic effects of mold. Yes, it can kill you.
Thank you for letting me vent. I hope you will reconsider your lax view on the importance of mold testing as well.
Here's my response:
The mold found in a home, like black mold, and the mold found in foods, like mycotoxin, are not the same things. There are many forms of mold, each varying in their effects on the human organism. Also, there is little evidence that mold survives the roasting process. So unless the beans are ground and then stored incorrectly, or have been whole and sat for long periods of time in improper climates, mold is not going to be an issue.
Finally, lab testing does not guarantee much. To certify something "lab tested," all someone has to do is test their beans "sometimes." I've know of certain companies that do things like this all the time, like a whey protein company that tests their whey once a year so they can market it a certain way as long as that single test finds whatever they can find.
Unfortunately, there is quite a bit of nonsense marketing hype in the food and supplement industry. And consumers should absolutely test: test for themselves by testing how they feel when they use certain products. I'm all for the scientific method. But I am not for blindly reading "lab tested," and determining it as the holy grail. That, I think, is myopic for numerous reasons.
Hope that helps!
P.S. Antibiotics should be used as a last resort. In that, we are in 100% agreement.
Might be illustrative to my take on the whole coffee and mold issue. Finally, my main point is to self-test.
Some dude in a lab coat doesn't need to tell you how to live or what to eat.
Most of the time, in fact, that dude in the lab coat does not have your best interests in mind. He's usually being paid by those that are trying to dupe you.
The idea of testing, and the blind-trust given to scientists is a dangerous mental framework that I see our current culture buying into with alarming regularity.
Just look at what the Doctors in the 60's and 70's did to this country when they used crappy "science" to tell the world that eating fat causes heart disease.
Use your body as a lab. It's the best scientist you're ever going to meet.