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Coffee and Tea Reports from the Front Lines

Coffee Pact Aims to Help Growers

United Kingdom - Four of the world’s largest coffee companies have made a voluntary pact to help improve conditions in producer countries, reports BBC News.

The agreement - signed by coffee giants Nestle, Tchibo, Sara Lee and Kraft - aims to end the use of child and forced labor.

The pact also calls for closer ties with growers of the best coffee beans to ensure they get the highest price. Yet critics say prices will rise if coffee’s huge oversupply is tackled.

The new agreement, which involves coffee bean growers in Brazil, Vietnam, Kenya, Colombia, Indonesia and Central American nations, has been developed by the four companies in conjunction with German coffee industry association DKV.

Roland Vaessen, chief executive of the European Coffee Federation, said coffee produced under the terms of the code would probably cost more.

The first coffee produced under the new code should come onto the world market following the harvest of 2005/2006.

Angus Downie, an economist at the Economist Intelligence Unit in London, said he doubted that the code would help boost world coffee prices, which have only made a marginal recovery since hitting 30-year lows in 2002.

“The only way to get prices back up is to cut supply,” he said. “These schemes do have a habit of not working in the medium-to-long term.”

Study Links Coffee to Bladder Cancer

Canada - A new study published in Ottowa suggests that coffee consumption increases the risk of bladder cancer in men and that the risk increases with the amount consumed, reports Chinaview.com.

According to the study conducted by Health Canada, men who drank four cups of coffee or more daily were almost twice as likely to get bladder cancer as members of a control group who did not drink coffee, according to results published in the journal, Chronic Diseases in Canada.

Bladder cancer is the fourth most common cancer in Canadian men. It has been estimated that about 3,700 cases will be diagnosed this year.

Lead author Anne-Marie Ugnat said the study “is suggestive of a possible relationship between coffee and cancer but in no way conclusive.”



Tea & Coffee - October/November, 2004
Tea Fair - China

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