A nonprofit organization that believes coffee could cause cancer has pushed a lawsuit in order to force businesses to issue warnings on all ready-to-drink coffee products sold in California.
Some 13 companies, including convenience chain 7-Eleven, have settled a 2010 lawsuit with the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT), promising to add warnings to the coffee they serve, USA Today reports.
The lawsuit demanded for the warning labels to say that the coffee contains a “chemical known to cause cancer” or “chemical that causes cancer,” at least 10 by 10 inches large.
Metzger Law Group, which represents CERT, says that the organization is trying to educate the public on acrylamide, a probable carcinogen, in coffee. The request is particularly compelling in California, because of Proposition 65, the California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, which mandates businesses to be upfront about harmful ingredients in their products.
When coffee beans are roasted, acrylamide forms, and scientists have yet to figure out how to reduce it in coffee drinks.
On the other side of the coin, Ronald Melnick, a former toxicologist at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences gave testimony about how to reduce the potentially dangerous chemical in coffee, including methods like altering plant selection, harvesting, pre-roasting processes, and so on, during the California trial.
CERT’s goal is to reduce or eliminate the chemical, Raphael Metzger of Metzger Law Group said. Metzger said,
CERT believes the best resolution of the case would be for the coffee industry to get the acrylamide out of coffee rather than giving acrylamide cancer hazard warnings.
The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, and the National Toxicology Program all do not recognize coffee as a carcinogen. The only confirmed documentation in the IARC finding is that hot beverages “probably” cause cancer of the esophagus.