A judge in Los Angeles has ruled that Starbucks and many other coffee companies failed to warn customers about acrylamide, which is produced during the roasting process.
The companies were sued by California-based Council for Education and Research on Toxics. It argued that acrylamide is carcinogenic under state law and should therefore be sold with a warning.
Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said the companies “had failed to prove that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health.” They have until 10 April to appeal the decision.
Responding to the ruling, the National Coffee Association (NCA) in the US said cancer warning labels on coffee would be misleading.
“The US government’s own Dietary Guidelines state that coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle,” said the NCA. “The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that coffee does not cause cancer. Study after study has provided evidence of the health benefits of drinking coffee, including longevity. Coffee drinkers live longer.
“Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage. This lawsuit has made a mockery of Proposition 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health,” said Bill Murray, President and CEO of the NCA.