Coffee might be labeled with cancer warning in California
A 2010 lawsuit filed by a nonprofit called Education and Research on Toxics may result in coffee sellers, including Starbucks and 7-Eleven, to warn customers about the dangers of ingesting acrylamide, which can potentially cause cancer and is produced when coffee beans are roasted. The coffee industry acknowledges the presence of the chemical, but contends that the presence of the chemical is at a harmless level. The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, which was passed by voters in 1986, states that private citizens, advocacy groups and attorneys can sue on behalf of the state and collect a portion of civil penalties if a business fails to post a warning label. The lawsuit claims that since coffee sellers do not post carcinogen warnings, they are in violation of this policy. Raphael Metzger, the attorney representing the nonprofit, stated,
I’m addicted to coffee, I confess, and I would like to be able to have mine without acrylamide.
Acrylamide is a carcinogen that is found in cooked foods such as French fries and is also a natural byproduct of the coffee roasting process. According to Metzger, at least 13 of the defendants have settled and agreed to give a warning. Metzger said the goal of the lawsuit is to force coffee companies to reduce the amount of the chemical to the point where there would be no significant cancer risk. We will have to wait and see what the verdict is in the case.