You may have heard concerns about your cup of coffee containing toxins from -- yuck -- moldy coffee beans.

And yes, your "morning joe" likely DOES contain a very small amount of what are called "mycotoxins"-- fungal toxins that are made by molds that can grow in coffee beans and other foods. The concern comes over the potential health risks which include not only liver, kidney and immune system damage, but even carcinogenic effects.

But before you go buy some of the "clean coffee" that's hit the internet recently at often premium prices, here's the reality.

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The Food and Drug Administration have set limits for what's considered "safe" levels for these naturally-occuring mycotoxins in coffee. And coffee producers and processors have quality control measures to sort and test coffee beans for contamination. Plus, many of the toxins are sensitive to heat and are destroyed during the roasting process.

But nothing is 100% effective, and some mycotoxins do get into coffee.

The good news -- federal regulations and industry quality control efforts aim to keep those to safe levels, and to not expose coffee drinkers to any significant health risks from mycotoxin contamination.

Even so, if you're sensitive to the toxins or concerned about the possible health effects, there are a number of roasting companies marketing so-called "clean coffee" -- beans that are marketed as "toxin free."

The whole mycotoxin debate's prompted Big Lake coffee roaster Ember Coffee to weigh-in with a post on their website called "Mycotoxins: The Internet's Latest Fad."

In their online post, Ember says "an average adult would need to consume up to 410,000 8 oz servings of brewed coffee per day to exceed safety levels established by scientific studies" for mycotoxins.

The company says paying extra for "mold-free" coffee might be unnecessary. And they reassure consumers they have extensive quality control measures in place.

Who's right? Check out the links above and decide for yourself -- over a cup of coffee, of course.

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