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NCA Guide to Diacetyl and the Coffee Industry

NCA Guide to Diacetyl and Workplace Safety

The science behind developing accurate occupational exposure levels (OELs) - and what coffee roasters need to know.

Coffee Industry Resources

NCA Member login required. Check to see if your organization is a member. For further assistance, please contact info@ncausa.org or 212.766.4007


Diacetyl is a substance found in many surprising places – like human breath, cigarette smoke, and many common foods. In terms of coffee, it is produced naturally in the roasting process. 

While diacetyl occurs naturally during the production of certain foods and beverages, it was also historically added to flavorings for its buttery taste. Today, added diacetyl has largely been removed from flavorings - often substituted by compounds like  2,3-pentanedione (which also share similar concerns for occupational exposure limits). However, naturally-occurring diacetyl may still be present.

Similar to many things we may eat, drink, touch, or inhale, there are typically established amounts, concentrations, or levels of exposure that are considered safe for human health. Foods and beverages containing diacetyl are not unhealthy as a result. However, concerns have been raised with respect to workers who may be exposed on a consistent and concentrated basis to diacetyl vapors. 

Scientists are not unanimously sure what level of exposure is appropriate in a workplace setting.  Despite varying opinions about this potential hazard, there are a number of exposure guidelines and recommended precautions that have been suggested by various authorities (described in the NCA members-exclusive FAQ below).

Log in to access additional resources, including a comprehensive overview of OEL development, FAQs, sampling guidance, and groundbreaking research.  

 

FAQ: Diacetyl For Coffee Roasters

 

NCA Member login required. Check to see if your organization is a member. For further assistance, please contact info@ncausa.org or 212.766.4007

Industry Feedback Appreciated!

The NCA invites members of the industry to let us know what we should address in upcoming diacetyl training and education, and other areas of interest. Your feedback will help us develop future NCA content and resources.

Specific questions and constructive comments are also welcome at info@ncausa.org.

 

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