According to a judge in Los Angeles, coffee companies must now put labels on their products warning consumers about the threat of cancer.
Due to a chemical made during the roasting process, Judge Elihu Berle believes it necessary to have these warnings. Wednesday, during the earlier trial phase, the defendants were not able to produce a convincing enough argument. The pros of drinking coffee, to the judge, do not overrule the cons that could come from drinking it.
A non-profit group that researches toxins sued Starbucks along with 90 other coffee companies. The prosecutor brought up a state law that requires warnings on a long range of cancerous chemicals. One of those chemicals is acrylamide, the carcinogen residing in the popular drink.
Is Coffee Healthy or Not? The Question is Still Up for Debate
Those sued, claimed this chemical, although present, did not pose any risk. Because it resulted naturally from the process of cooking, it should be exempt. The prosecuted also claimed the drink was beneficial to the body.
The ruling passed despite recent studies that found health benefits during their research into the possible dangers of coffee. A research agency on cancer took the drink off the possible carcinogen list back in 2016.
William Murray, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association, said research had shown coffee to be a healthy drink. He also states that the lawsuit doesn’t help to improve the public’s health.
This lawsuit, brewing for eight years, still seems to be going strong. During the third trial phase, penalties will be determined, up to $2,500 per individual exposed every day over those eight years. The costs, estimated to equal around 40 million, are unlikely to be imposed.
The attorney who started the lawsuit, Raphael Metzger, wants the industry to take out the chemical from the process. Companies, however, say it is not possible.
Although many cafés do post current warnings such as acrylamide found in coffee, they are often in discreet locations.
Some defendants have settled and agreed to post warnings. Only 50 defendants remain.
Even with the knowledge about recent developments, avid coffee drinkers will most likely only give it a second thought, but continue to make or buy their daily brews.