It's fair to say that a lot of people awoke Friday to a headline that might have tempted them more than a morning cup from Joe: a Californian judge had ruled that coffee sold in the state should carry a cancer warning ,
Here are some things you should know about the verdict and how it might affect you:
HOW IS THE BEEF WITH COFFEE?
How Many Foods Cooked Creates a Chemical By-Product of Coffee Roasting Called Acrylamide Carcinogen
The Toxik Education and Research Council, a small non-profit organization, has brought the coffee industry to justice under a California law requires where chemicals are known to cause cancer or birth defects.
Coffee companies, led by Starbucks Corp., confirm the presence of the chemical, but said it is found in traces that are harmless. They argue that all risks are offset by other health benefits from drinking the drink.
While scientists have been toying for benefits or risks of coffee for years, concerns have recently eased and some studies have found health benefits and even lower risks found certain cancers.
But a Los Angeles court judge said coffee companies failed to prove their case.
The National Coffee Association said the industry is considering all options, including appeals and further legal action. Buzzkill? Warnings about cancer could go beyond California “/>
HAVE I SEEN THIS FILM BEFORE?
The same group brought potato chips to court in California years ago because acrylamide is contained in fried potatoes. Under an agreement, the industry agreed to remove the chemical from chips.
Lawyer Raphael Metzger, who represents the nonprofit organization, said that if chip makers could do it, coffee roasters could do the same. That's his ultimate goal.
But coffee companies have said that it is not feasible to remove acrylamide without ruining the taste of the coffee.
In addition to the warnings, coffee companies could face some civil penalties of up to $ 2500 per person in California every day for over eight years.
"The judge could impose crippling fines, which is all the more the reason why these companies should settle the case," said Metzger on Friday.
WHEN WILL I SEE HARMFUL CANCER WARNING SIGNS?
Those living or visiting California may have noticed signs of cancer risks at gas stations, hardware stores, coffee shops and even Disneyland.
The law was passed by voters more than 30 years ago, and the signs are so ubiquitous and often vaguely worded that most people pay little attention. For example, parking garages warn: "This area contains chemicals known to the state of California to cause cancer, birth defects and other reproductive harm."
"The breadth of the law requires a strong warning that does not arrive in public. You are warned because there are so many without specificity that they are essentially largely ignored," said attorney Jim Colopy, the manufacturer and distributor in defended similar processes.
After the lawsuit began, many coffeeshops began publishing warnings California has discovered that acrylamide is one of the chemicals that causes cancer or reproductive toxicity.
There are also indications that the cancer risk is influenced by a variety of factors and that the Food and Drug Administration has not recommended that humans drink coffee or eat baked goods containing acrylamide.
However, many of the pictured signs are in places that are not easily seen, such as under the counter, where cream and sugar are available.
The ruling could lead to signs being affixed to the counters where customers previously see them making a purchase and demanding warnings on the ground coffee and roasted bean bags.
IS SOME WACKY CALIFORNIA LAW KILL MY MINE BUZZ?
The law applies only to California, but the state is so massive The market, which could tailor packaging with warnings specifically to stores in the state, could be a big task.
Colopy said that it is not possible for its customers, who market products nationally and globally, to manufacture only Californian packaging.
"Often the industry has no choice, but to give a warning no matter where they are sold, whether inside or outside California," he said.
So, the short answer is maybe.
Proponents of the law would argue that a broader conscience is not so bad.
California judge decides that coffee requires cancer warning (update)