Coffee will now come with a cancer warning in California. It’s official.
A state judge in California has decided a beloved drink should be marked among products like electrical wires and jewelry for containing chemicals known to the state to cause cancer or birth defects or other reproductive harm.
The Proposition 65 warning you might have seen posted in the windows of fast food restaurants or displayed on the back of your favorite household products will now be slapped on coffee.
Why is this happening? What does this mean for your morning cup of joe?
Read on for answers to some of the questions you may have.
What is Prop. 65?
Proposition 65 requires businesses to notify Californians about significant amounts of chemicals in the products that they purchase, that are in their homes or workplaces or that are released into the environment. Providing this information, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 says, enables Californians to make informed decisions about protecting themselves from exposure to these chemicals.
You can read the list of Prop. 65 chemicals here.
What does it have to do with coffee?
The Council for Education and Research on Toxics has been working for years to get coffee manufacturers, distributors and retailers to post Prop. 65 warnings on coffee products. It filed a lawsuit in 2010 targeting more than 70 companies, including Starbucks and Trader Joe’s.
Why are coffee companies fighting it?
The coffee industry has acknowledged that acrylamide is a byproduct of the coffee roasting process but argues the amount that’s produced is harmless.
What did the court decide?
A judge in Los Angeles said that Starbucks and other coffee companies failed to show that the threat from a chemical compound produced in the roasting process was insignificant.
What happens now?
California businesses will be required to provide a “clear and reasonable” warning before knowingly and intentionally exposing anyone to a Prop. 65 listed chemical. The state offers a few suggestions for what that means, including posting signs at a workplace, distributing notices at a rental housing complex or publishing notices in a newspaper.
Penalties for failing to do so could be up to $2,500 per person exposed each day over eight years, according to The Associated Press.
How is the decision going over so far?
Some say the state is going too far with its labeling, others were concerned or joking about their coffee intake.
Coffee addicts, is this how you’ll take the news?
What do you think of the judge’s decision? Send us a tweet to @sdutideas and we may add your opinion to this page.
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