CA Judge Rules Coffee Should Have A Warning Label

Contributed by Amaya Starkey


While scientists are still working on proving whether coffee is actually good or bad for you, a California judge has made a final decision. The judge has ruled that coffee sellers in the state are required to post cancer warnings on all their coffee-based products.

This ruling is derived from a lawsuit filed in 2010 by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a non-profit organization based in California. This group has charged Starbucks and many other coffee companies for not warning consumers that ingesting the coffee could expose them to acrylamide, as reported by The New York Times.

According to NBC News, the Council for Education and Research on Toxics demanded that the coffee industry remove Acrylamide, which is created from roasting coffee beans, from its processing. The industry, which is led by Starbucks Corporation claim that the chemical levels in coffee are not in fact dangerous and that risks tend to outweigh benefits.

California constantly keeps record of chemicals that may cause cancer or reproductive harm, and acrylamide has been included on this list since 1990. California’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, also referred to, as Proposition 65 requires all businesses to provide warning labels when exposing customers to any of the listed chemicals.

Evidence on the possible negative or positive impact of coffee has been a topic of conversation for years now, however; some of these concerns have recently disappeared with new studies coming forward proving the health benefits.

CNN reports attorney Raphael Metzger, who brought the lawsuit and drinks a few cups of coffee daily, claims the industry could remove the acrylamide without affecting the taste of the coffee.

“I firmly believe if the potato chip industry can do it, so can the coffee industry,” Metzger said. “A warning won’t be that effective because it’s an addictive product.”

Several coffee shops have begun posting acrylamide warnings claiming the chemical to be cancer causing. Still, these signs are often posted in invisible places, such as behind the counter.

California’s extensive coffee market could possibly make it harder to adjust all packaging to include warning labels, especially for stores within the state. Out of state coffee drinkers may now also require warning labels as well.

Companies have until April 10 to file objections to the proposition. Ensuing, a judge will assist in finding solutions to the issue if there is no agreement before then.


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