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When you prepare yourself a cup of instant coffee which the label claims is “100 % pure soluble coffee”, you don’t expect to find anything else inside. Instant coffee represents a sizable fraction of international trade and is subject to national and supranational regulations. But how can we avoid incorrect and misleading declarations and counterfeit products?

A new ISO standard, ISO 24114:2011, Instant coffee – Criteria for authenticity, outlines specifications to certify the purity and quality of soluble coffee powder, providing a tool to detect possible adulterations. The criteria are based on the analysis of over 1000 samples of commercial soluble coffees and their statistically sound evaluation.

Marino Petracco, Chair of the ISO subcommittee that developed the standard, says, “Incorrect declarations claiming to be 100% pure soluble coffee, but with accidental or fraudulent additions, deceive consumers, and result in unfair competition between manufacturers. For both the benefit of consumers and coffee manufacturers, ISO 24114 will be an invaluable aid, ensuring the veracity of declarations, and strengthening the mutual confidence throughout the coffee chain."

The standard is intended for use by any industry third parties buying pure soluble coffee to control its purity and quality, with the aid of a qualified laboratory.

ISO 24114 was developed by technical committee ISO/TC 34, Food products, subcommittee SC 15, Coffee.

ISO 24114:2011, Instant coffee – Criteria for authenticity, is available from ISO national member institutes (see the complete list with contact details). It may also be obtained directly from the ISO Central Secretariat, price 44 Swiss francs through the ISO Store or by contacting the Marketing, Communication & Information department (see right-hand column).