Coffee in California by Starbucks and other roasters and retailers will now be served with cancer warnings. Elihu Berle, a superior court judge ruled on Monday that Starbucks and other coffee sellers did not show that the risk from consuming acrylamide. It is a cancer-causing byproduct created during coffee roasting.
The tentative decision was taken in March and the ruling confirmed the verdict. Around 90 coffee retailers were sued by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT), a non-profit group. Starbucks was also included on the grounds of violating California law that requires companies to warn consumers of the chemicals in their products that could cause cancer.
“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,” said William Murray, president and chief executive of the National Coffee Association.
Raphael Metzger, the attorney who represents CERT is hopeful that this ruling will lead the coffee sellers to reformulate their products so it does not contain acrylamide. “Just giving warnings to people who are really addicted to the product, like me, doesn’t do much,” said Metzger.
Starbucks has yet to comment on the ruling but several of the defendants have already paid fines and started putting up the signs as a settlement.