Serving ‘Joss’ Coffee with Charcoal – a Offense That Can Result in Fines and Imprisonment

Serving ‘Joss’ Coffee with Charcoal – a Offense That Can Result in Fines and Imprisonment

KUALA LUMPUR – The addition of charcoal to coffee, a growing trend, is considered an offense under the Food Regulations 1985 and can lead to charges, according to the Ministry of Health (MOH). The MOH states that any food premises owner found serving coffee with charcoal can be fined up to RM10,000 or imprisoned for not more than two years if convicted.

“Coffee that is ready to be consumed is regulated under Regulation 269A, Food Regulations 1985, and this regulation only allows the addition of sugar, dextrose, glucose, or honey, milk, cream, other food, and permitted flavoring substances. Charcoal is not categorized as food,” according to the MOH in a statement to BERNAMA.

This statement responds to a BERNAMA report on November 16, which highlighted the trend of drinking coffee infused with charcoal in a local eatery, sparking discussions among netizens on social media in recent weeks. The trend, often referred to as ‘Kopi Joss’ in Indonesia, is believed to impart a unique flavor and is considered a way to eliminate toxins from the body.

However, health experts express concerns about consuming such drinks, as they may have adverse effects such as cancer due to their carcinogenic nature and the potential for intestinal blockages if consumed regularly for an extended period.

The MOH clarifies that the hot charcoal added directly to coffee is different from activated charcoal, commonly used in the food industry because it has been processed and purified, making it safe for consumption.

“However, hot charcoal added directly to coffee, as circulated, cannot be guaranteed to have been properly processed or safe for consumption as it may contain foreign or toxic substances. Therefore, as a monitoring measure, investigations will be conducted after the MOH receives complete information about the implicated food premises,” the MOH states.

The MOH also urges the public to report any food premises suspected of not complying with the provisions under the Food Act 1983 and its regulations to the nearest District Health Office or State Health Department or contact the MOH through the website or Facebook Food Safety and Quality Division (BKKM)

“At the same time, the public is advised to choose clean eateries or restaurants, especially those that have received recognition under the Clean, Safe, and Healthy (BeSS) program from the ministry,” the statement concludes.


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