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Monthly Archives: April 2013

And the Science Says . . .

Scientific studies on coffee and caffeine emerge virtually every day from laboratories around the world. In 2012 alone, NCA has tracked about 300 such studies and continues to uncover new ones on a regular basis. Since 2000, a large majority of those studies have reached conclusions that make up a long menu of health benefits in America’s favorite beverage.

Here are just a few of the most recent findings.

Scientists in New Zealand have found that the antioxidant in coffee, chlorogenic acid, is the only one that delivered the benefits of protecting essential DNA from damage from “oxidative stress,” or the daily onslaught of cell exposure that generates “free radicals” that cause bodily inflammations. This finding, by Dr. Manisha A. Rathod and team at the University of Auckland, could be at the core of the benefits observed in other studies that have associated coffee with a reduced risk for liver damage, certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and other neuro-degenerative maladies.

A study by Japanese scientists has concluded that coffee holds special anti-bacterial properties for the digestive system. Specifically, Dr. T. Nakayama and K. Oishi at the Research Institute for Microbial Diseases at Osaka University, found that there was far less E. coli and Clostridium in the colons of test mice that were fed coffee. The researchers also hypothesized that coffee’s antibacterial activity could contribute to dampening outbreaks of E. coli poisoning, such as 2011’s severe cases in Japan and Germany.

A large roundup study – or “meta-analysis” – was completed by Chinese scientists to examine the wider literature on coffee’s perceived benefits on reducing the risk of breast cancer. Drs. Wenjie Jiang, Yili Wu and Xiubo Jiang concluded that there is a clear “inverse relationship” between coffee and breast cancer incidence among women with a certain pre-disposing gene mutation (the BRCA1 gene) and post-menopausal women. The authors found that the risk of breast cancer decreased by 2% for every 2 cups of coffee consumed per day. Something special about coffee’s impact also became clear in their finding that caffeine administration alone appeared to result in a smaller risk reduction.

As its scientific committee continues to track studies on coffee, caffeine and health, NCA keeps its finger on the pulse of current research. Stay tuned as NCA continues to keep you informed.

An Affair to Remember

NCA took its annual convention west this year, visiting San Francisco for the first time. Momentum was in the air, with excitement and enthusiasm that rivaled the city’s legendary hills.

More than 700 people descended on the Palace Hotel in the downtown South of Market neighborhood for NCA’s 102nd convention and surrounding events. Convention registrations surpassed the record numbers of NCA’s 2011 Centennial convention in New Orleans, setting a new record stretching back over 20 years.

New this year, NCA kicked off the convention’s educational offerings with a pre-program symposium, Coffee at the Crossroads of Science and Law, to address a growing industry need. The last few years have seen a spate of legal and regulatory challenges that hinge on scientific knowledge and technical know-how. NCA brought together prominent litigation and regulatory attorneys and industry scientists to explore three pressing issues that call for both legal and scientific expertise to unravel – Proposition 65 lawsuits in California, the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, and health claims on food labels. About fifty participants took advantage of this half-day event.

The convention experience continued with the NCA tradition of giving back to its convention host city. This year, NCA Day of Service participants partnered with the Salvation Army at three sites in the city to help the organization with its multifaceted efforts to help provide food, shelter and clothing to the city’s needy. The Day of Service volunteers made sandwiches to be distributed to the homeless, sorted donated goods for distribution to low-income families and restocked clothing whose proceeds help support the organization’s drug and alcohol recovery program participants. A popular convention feature, the event attracted the maximum number of participants, “selling out” weeks before the event.

The Convention’s educational program covered the breadth of industry topics and concerns, with a special emphasis on sustainability. Topics covered the field, with relevance to all links in the coffee supply chain. Among them, sessions covered the single-serve format phenomenon, differential coffee contracts for single-origin coffees, certifications, climate change, legal and regulatory devlopments, top-line results of NCA market research, and consumption promotion. Three sessions were devoted exclusively to sustainability with distinct perspectives, covering agricultural initiatives, leadership practices and differentiated coffee supplies.

The table-top exhibition, an important feature of the NCA convention introduced in 2003, was the largest ever, with nearly 40 display tables featuring products ranging from single-origin coffees to equipment and packaging manufacturers to certification and sustainability organizations. Essentially an executive trade show, the exhibition is designed to bring exhibitors into contact with the senior coffee executives who attend the NCA convention. The exhibition has grown by 20% over each of the last two years and by 179% since 2010.

The 2013 NCA Convention was clearly an affair to remember for many in the coffee industry. Attendee responses to the convention were exceedingly positive, and the momentum is likely to keep climbing. Will NCA see you at next year’s convention in New Orleans?

 

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