Health Care

Judge says California coffee shops must include cancer warnings

Judge says California coffee shops must include cancer warnings”

A Los Angeles judge Thursday ordered coffee companies to abide by California state law and put cancer warning labels on their products.

The companies failed to persuade the judge that "sound considerations of public health" support an exemption from California's Proposition 65 warning for the chemical acrylamide in coffee.

The decision comes after a lawsuit was filed by the nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxins that targeted several companies, including Starbucks and 7-Eleven, CNN previously reported.

Acrylamide forms naturally when such foods as coffee, hot wheat cereals and potatoes are cooked or deep fried.

The case has been developing for eight years and is still not over. Another phase of the case is still pending to determine if companies should be forced to pay financial damages.

With potential penalties up to $2,500 U.S. per person exposed each day over eight years, that figure could be astronomical in a state with close to 40 million residents, though such a massive figure is very unlikely.

"Defendants' proffered evidence that coffee itself confers some benefit to human health was not persuasive", Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said in his ruling Wednesday. Berle said the epidemiology studies presented were inadequate to evaluate that risk.

Some recent studies have shown possible benefits from drinking coffee, including protection against liver disease, some diabetes and Parkinson's disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) has said that coffee does not cause cancer.

Proposed California judicial decisions can still be reversed, but rarely are.

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