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Officials seize 12 tonnes of fake ‘coffee’ laced with hazardous materials

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Here’s something to contemplate next time you’re about to enjoy your next caffeine-fix.

Vietnam’s Tuoi Tre News daily newspaper is reporting that a family-run coffee producer in Vietnam’s Dak Nong province has been caught manufacturing coffee laced with harmful ingredients from used batteries, dirt and rock dust and black dye.

Vietnamese authorities say they seized about 12 tonnes of  dangerous coffee materials from an illegal factory in a raid last Monday (April 16).

They also say they’ve discovered tonnes of coffee ready for shipment as well as tonnes of raw materials used in the production of the fake coffee. This includes 35 kilograms of black powder taken from used batteries.

The owner of the facility has told police she would buy rejected coffee beans from other facilities at low prices. The beans would then be ground and mixed with other ‘garbage’ ingredients like dirt and rock dust and then used the black powder found inside D batteries to ‘dye’ the mixture to look like coffee granolas.

The woman says she’s been running the facility for years and had sold over three tons of ‘coffee’ to the market since the beginning of this year.

A chemist from Vietnam National University, Associate Professor Tran Hong Con, says the black substance extracted from used batteries is a toxic chemical called manganese dioxite which is a highly oxidant compound and as little as 9.5 milligrams of it mixed with a litre of water is enough to cause manganese poisoning in humans.

 

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