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Wednesday
May152013

Fungus Endangering Coffee Beans in Central America

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Is your coffee tasting a little funny?  It could be the result of an orange colored fungus called roya.

The coffee leaf rust is causing huge problems for growers in parts of Central America, endangering some of the world's most desired coffee beans and, in turn, driving up prices.

According to the International Coffee Organization, the fungus is expected to cost the region around $500 million in damages during the 2012-13 crop year.  The following year, the organization predicts the impact to crops will be worse.

Some 374,000 jobs are also expected to be lost this year due to the rust, the ICO says.

"On average, over 50% of the total coffee growing area in Central America has been affected by the pest," the ICO said in a report.

Coffee roasters and sellers will have to make up for the crop shortage by turning to other countries, like Colombia and Brazil, for beans.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio