Coffee is one of those things that people always seem to debate over. For five years it’s bad for you, and then a few studies come out that say you should be drinking a cup every morning.
It doesn’t really matter what researchers are saying, though. As long as it’s available, people are always going to drink coffee.
Most coffee drinkers have a different personality before and after their first cup. A digestive problem in the future is a fair tradeoff for being a functioning human being today.
Now, it’s looking like coffee shops in California may have to post a warning on their cups due to a recent lawsuit. So far, at least 13 defendants have settled and agreed to post warnings on their coffee, according to a CNN report.
California’s Proposition 65 states that businesses must tell customers when one of a list of cancer-causing chemicals is in their food. One of those chemicals is acrylamide, which is created when coffee beans are roasted.
What else contains this nefarious-sounding substance, you may ask? Potatoes. Bread. Prune juice. All sorts of things, really — it’s even found in some types of packaging, and it’s not labelled on most of them.
7-Eleven was one of the most recent coffee sellers to fold. Californians can look forward to a warning on their 7-Eleven coffees once the policy goes into effect.
The lawsuit that brought this policy change about is aiming to reduce the amount of acrylamide in coffee. Their endgame isn’t to require labels, but to reduce the acrylamide to a level where a warning wouldn’t be required.
“I’m addicted to coffee, I confess, and I would like to be able to have mine without acrylamide,” Raphael Metzger, the attorney representing the nonprofit that started the lawsuit, told CNN.
The defense argued that coffee’s health benefits outweigh the potential cancer risk of acrylamide.
“Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage,” Bull Murray, National Coffee Association CEO said in a statement. “The US Government’s own Dietary Guidelines state that coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
“This lawsuit simply confuses consumers, and has the potential to make a mockery of Prop 65 cancer warning at a time when the public needs clear and accurate information about health,” he continued.
In the past, California has taken fast food and potato chip companies to court over failing to warn their consumers about the presence of acrylamide.
“We have a huge cancer epidemic in this country, and about a third of cancers are linked to diet,” Metzger said.
“To the extent that we can get carcinogens out of the food supply, logically, we can reduce the cancer burden in this country. That’s what this is all about.”
Still, this shift will require more work on the part of coffee vendors to print new materials and ensure their customers are getting all the facts. If you’re in California, check out your beverage cup the next time you order a hot cup of Joe.
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