California judge rules that coffee requires cancer warning

CALIFORNIA — A judge’s ruling in California will now force coffee companies to place a cancer warning on their product. A chemical, acrylamide, released during the roasting process, is said to cause cancer.

This all stems from a 2010 lawsuit that’s dragged out in the courts. The Council for Education and Research on Toxins claims acrylamide is carcinogenic and requires consumer disclosure under California’s proposition 65 law.

Coffee drinkers have mixed reviews.

“I usually drink two to three I like the ritual of it I like how it tastes it just makes me happy, keeps me awake,” Justin Link said. When asked if the judge’s ruling will affect his coffee habits, the Harlem resident said an emphatic no.

PIX11 spoke to gastroenterologist Dr. David Robbins at Lenox-Hill Hospital.

“There are convincing animal studies that show that acrylamide has cancer causing effects. However, there’s no data that acrylamide causes cancer in humans,” he said.

Dr. Robbins also notes acrylamide is found in many other food sources, including potatoes.

“When you’re talking about something as complex as coffee, there’s a whole list of pros and cons and this type of red line between acrylamide and cancer can be a very slippery slope, that being said it clearly deserves more study."

The judge’s ruling found Starbucks and other sellers were unable to prove the chemical does NOT pose a danger.

Dr. Robbins points out the coffee is full of anti-oxidants, which helps fight cancer.

“If you look at it in the broader concept we now know that any amount of alcohol is carcinogenic and that’s just one drop a day so where you put this in the context of a balanced diet, it’s a much more important question that singling out a single toxin in a compound such as coffee that has hundreds of other compounds and anti-oxidant properties which themselves has health benefits.”

The National Coffee Association fired back, releasing the following statement"

"Today’s ruling in a long-standing legal case concerning coffee companies and California’s Prop. 65 has the potential for coffee to be labeled with “cancer warning” labels. The industry is currently considering all of its options, including potential appeals and further legal actions.

Cancer warning labels on coffee would be misleading. The US government’s own Dietary Guidelines state that coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that coffee does not cause cancer. Study after study has provided evidence of the health benefits of drinking coffee, including longevity - coffee drinkers live longer.

Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage. This lawsuit has made a mockery of Prop 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health.”