A judge in Los Angeles, ruled that coffee sellers in California are required to have a cancer warning label on their beverages.
The National Coffee Association, including Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, said in a statement “currently considering all of its options, including potential appeals and further legal actions.”
This decision was made following the lawsuit filed in 2010, by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a nonprofit group based in Long Beach. The lawsuit stated that the coffee sellers did not warn consumers of expose to acrylamide, a chemical formed when coffee beans are roasted.
California includes acrylamide as a cancerous chemical since 1990. The state’s Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, requires businesses to provide warning labels when exposing consumers to any of the hundreds of chemicals listed.
Judge Elihu M. Berle, in Los Angeles County Superior Court, wrote in a proposed decision that the companies failed to show that acrylamide does not pose a significant risk when produced during roasting.
William Murray, chief executive of coffee association, said “the presence of acrylamide in coffee is not in doubt” but emphasized that the levels are minuscule. Coffee is much more than acrylamide — it literally contains hundreds of substances, and is one of the most heavily studied foods of all time. “
They believe that labelling coffee products as cancerous would be confusing and misleading. In the past, World Health Organization stated that the drink does not cause cancer and studies show that coffee offers health benefits such as longevity.
Starbucks and other defendants are planning on filing an objection to the proposed decision within the next two weeks.
Companies who violate the law are could face penalties of up to US$ 2,500 per day for each violation, according to the California attorney general’s office.