Air Quality

Posted: June 23, 2015

Hello all, We’d like to share a copy of an open letter that was sent to our co-workers on March 25, 2015 regarding an issue that’s been debated in the coffee world. As a company we’ve always operated in a transparent manner and we want to maintain that same transparency when addressing an issue such as this.

Hey all Colectivans -There has recently been concern in the coffee industry about air quality in coffee roasting plants, in particular artificially synthesized diacetyl. This substance occurs naturally in many foods and beverages – chardonnay, beer, coffee, butter and cream all have diacetyl in them.

This substance is developed during fermentation processes. People consume this product daily and have been for centuries. However, artificially synthesized diacetyl can create very high concentrations in the air people breathe, which may be unsafe.

We have ensured that there is no artificial diacetyl in our work environments, nor has there ever been to our knowledge. As you all know, we believe that excellence is elusive and needs to be worked on every day. Even though we are confident that we have created excellent and safe workplaces, we know we can always improve. In that sprit, we are going to re-examine our work environments and ensure they exceed the standards that exist. This effort will ride alongside our existing and continuing safety efforts that many of you are participating in.

If you have any questions, Leo, Scott, Ward, Paul and I are always available.

Best- Lincoln (Ward and Paul)

Since the posting of this letter, we’ve received questions and comments from a few concerned customers. We would like to take this opportunity to share some additional info surrounding this topic:

Diacetyl is the same, be it natural or artificial…the point of our internal communication was that artificial diacetyl can push the air concentration much higher than naturally occurring, given the lower levels that naturally occurring diacetyl typically present. To date, problems have occurred only in places that use artificial diacetyl.

For clarity, the open letter was a communication to our whole company. Most of our staff are not production roasters (only 5 of 450 are). That letter was meant to address this issue broadly and briefly.

As part of our routine safety meetings with our production staff, this topic (among many others) is discussed in detail. Our staff members are fully informed and part of our safety process as we continue to learn more. An extension of that process will examine diacetyl in a fact-based and transparent manner. Our production staff will be integral to that examination…and they will help craft any solution.

All that said, we will conduct our own examination (with clarity and a respect for facts and good process) to quantify our work environment and share that with our staff. We take our work environments and the safety of our staff seriously. Air quality (among many topics) will be part of that process, and the health and safety of our staff will always be front and center in our organization.

If you have any concerns that are not addressed here, we welcome you to contact us at [email protected]


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