LOS ANGELES – A preliminary ruling by a California judge's court in Los Angeles could affect thousands of coffee shops including Starbucks, 7-Eleven and even your local gas station.
The stores You may need to receive a warning telling the customer that a potential cancer risk is related to their morning jolt from Java. The court said in a statement on Wednesday that the companies "did not meet their burden of proof on their Alternative Significant Risk Level Confirming Defense" and decided against it.
California keeps a list of chemicals that it considers possible causes of cancer. One of them is acrylamide, which is produced when coffee beans are roasted. The chemical stays in the coffee you drink, which the dish calls a "high amount".
A lawsuit first filed by the Los Angeles County Supreme Court in 2010 was directed against several companies that manufacture or manufacture selling coffee. The suit called for damages and a label to warn consumers.
"It's not a final decision yet, but I think that's big news and I'm very relieved after eight years of work," attorney Raphael Metzger said. "It's a good day for public health."
The original court documents state that under the 1986 Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, also known as Proposition 65, companies must give customers "a clear and reasonable warning." the presence of high concentrations of this chemical that is toxic and carcinogenic and may affect a drinker's health – and that these businesses did not.
The coffee companies argued in court that the acrylamide content in coffee should be considered as safe for health and the health benefits of coffee outweigh the risk. The court did not agree.
At least 13 of the defendants had settled before making this decision and agreed to give a warning, including 7-Eleven, Metzger said. The other coffee companies, including Starbucks, were waiting for a court order.
"Coffee has been shown over and over again to be a healthy drink, and this lawsuit has sickened Prop 65, confused consumers and done nothing to improve public health," said William Murray, President and CEO of National Coffee Association, by e-mail.
Coffee has been studied a lot over the years, and research has shown that it offers several health benefits, including reducing the risk of early death. It can reduce the risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis, type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer's and even some cancers such as melanoma and prostate cancer. However, a review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, found that drinking very hot drinks is "probably carcinogenic to humans" due to burns of the esophagus; There was no relation to the chemical acrylamide.
The science on human exposure to acrylamide still needs "future studies," according to a 2014 review of scientific research on the relationship of the chemical to a variety of cancers in the Journal of Nutrition and Cancer
Potatoes and baked goods such as crackers, bread and cookies, breakfast cereals, black canned olives and plum juice can be found, though its presence is not always featured. It is in some food packaging and is a component of tobacco smoke. According to the National Cancer Institute, people are exposed to "significantly more acrylamide from tobacco smoke than from food."
In 2002, the International Agency for Research on Cancer classified acrylamide as a Group 2A carcinogen for humans. Studies conducted on humans have found "no statistically significant association between the intake of acrylamide and various cancers," according to the 2014 research report.
Increased risk of renal, ovarian and endometrial carcinomas has been observed in a number of other studies; "Exposure assessment, however, was inadequate, which could lead to potential misclassification or underestimation of exposure," states the 2014 research review.
Even the studies that showed cancer links between acrylamide in rats and mice used doses "1,000 to 100,000 times higher than the usual amounts, on a weight basis, that people are exposed to from food sources, "says the research report.
It is also believed that humans absorb acrylamide at different rates and metabolize it differently than rodents, according to previous research. 19659003] The report of the National Toxicology Program on Carcinogens considers acrylamide to be "reasonably believed to be a carcinogen for humans".
The Food and Drug Administration's website says that "is still in the information collection" opportunities for consumers to cut it from their diet. The FDA has also provided guidance to the industry to suggest a number of approaches that companies could take to reduce acrylamide levels. The recommendations are just a guide and according to the website "not required".
California expanded its carcinogen list in January 1990 with acrylamide, and the state has successfully brought companies to court.
In 2008, the California Attorney General cleared lawsuits against Heinz, Frito-Lay, Kettle Foods, and Lance Inc. when companies agreed to reduce acrylamide to potato chips and chips
In 2007, fast food restaurants in California released acrylamide Warnings of French fries and paid court fines and costs of not publishing the warnings in previous years
"We have a huge cancer epidemic in this country, and about a third of cancers are related to diet," Metzger said. "As we get carcinogens out of food supplies, we can logically reduce the cancer burden in that country, that's what we're talking about here."
Enterprises have until 10 April to submit an objection to the proposed decision Butcher said, and then there should be a final decision. A judge will then help to decide what the penalties and remedies should be if companies do not settle before then.