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California Judge : Serve coffee with Cancer warning

Team SoOLEGAL 31 Mar 2018 3:46pm

California Judge : Serve coffee with Cancer warning

In a Judgement which may have ramification for coffee growers , sellers and consumers, a California state Judge Elihu M. Berle, in Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled that Coffee sellers would have to display Cancer warning to customers.

The ruling is a result of law suit filed in 2010 by Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a nonprofit group based in Long Beach. The group had leveled a charge against Starbucks and other coffee sellers that they did not inform the customers that drinking coffee would expose them to acrylamide, a chemical formed when coffee beans are roasted.

The National Coffee Association, whose members include Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, said in a statement that it was “currently considering all of its options, including potential appeals and further legal actions.”

The state of California maintains a list of cancer causing chemicals and acrylamide has been in this list since 1990. The state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, known as Proposition 65 after it was passed in 1986, requires businesses to display  warning labels when exposing consumers to any of the chemicals mentioned in the list.

“Since defendants failed to prove that coffee confers any human health benefits, defendants have failed to satisfy their burden of proving that sound considerations of public health support an alternate risk level for acrylamide in coffee,” the judge wrote.

USA is a huge coffee drinker and according to the International Coffee Organization USA alone consumes coffee more than the entire South America .

William Murray, the chief executive of the coffee association, said in a statement, "Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage. The presence of acrylamide in coffee is not in doubt but levels are minuscule .Putting warning labels on coffee would be simply confusing and misleading ".

Starbucks and other defendants can file objections to the proposed decision within the next two weeks.

There are heavy penalties for violation for Proposition 65 and businesses found violating these could face up to $2,500 per day for each violation Some companies have already settled.

In a court document filed in December, 7-Eleven chain agreed to post signs in its company and franchise stores and to pay $900,000 to cover civil penalties and the plaintiff’s legal costs.

The National Cancer Institute in its website mentions that coffee ,along with potato chips, bread, breakfast cereals and canned black olives is a major source of acrylamide. But at the same time it states that acrylamide levels in food vary widely and that “people are exposed to substantially more acrylamide from tobacco smoke than from food ".

Tagged: Coffee   Cancer warning   California judge   Starbucks  
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