'Coffee not essential for human survival', Swiss government says

Many cyclists (and journalists, for that matter) might disagree...

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Swiss government plans to stop its practice of storing emergency reserves of coffee, claiming coffee beans are 'not essential to human life'.

The country has been keeping an Armageddon ready supply since the period of time between the two World Wars, and reportedly has 16,865 tons tons of coffee at the ready - enough to supply domestic drinking for three months.

However, on Wednesday the Federal Council ruled that it's not an essential item and it hopes that stores will be run dry by 2022.

The Federal Office for National Economic Supply (NES) is looking to amend the "Ordinance on the Compulsory Storage of Foodstuff and Animal Feed."

In a news release, it commented: "It is intended to cancel the storage obligation for coffee."

The NES said it had "came to the conclusion that coffee is not essential for life according to today's criteria."

Looking to justify the comment, it added: "Coffee contains almost no calories and therefore does not make any contribution to food security from a nutritional point of view."

It added that including coffee for its "psychological reasons" was "no longer justified."

If the proposal goes forwards, importers such as Nestle will not be required to keep bags of raw coffee waiting in the wings to supply the average Swiss drinker with the five cups/18 pounds of coffee they consume a day.

Not everyone agrees with the findings published by the NES, with cyclists becoming vocal in the debate.

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Coffee is widely believed to carry performance benefits, with brands such as TrueStart offering products that aim to deliver the exact amount of caffeine required to boost your pedal power.

Outside of pure performance, recent studies have also associated coffee consumption with health benefits such as lowering the risk of developing heart problems, diabetes, liver disease, depression, dementia and some cancers.

The researchers working on the 2017 study concluded that three to four cups a day had a positive health impact, that overall would reduce the chances of an early death by 17 per cent.