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Published On: Mon, Apr 2nd, 2018

California judge uses bad science and scare tactics to rule that coffee must have cancer warnings

A  California superior court judge in Los Angeles ruled that coffee shops may have to put up a warning that tells customers there is a possible cancer risk linked to their cup of coffee. The court said in a statement Wednesday that the companies “failed to meet their burden of proof on their Alternative Significant Risk Level affirmative defense” and ruled against them.

The National Coffee Association, whose members include Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, said in a statement on Thursday that it was “currently considering all of its options, including potential appeals and further legal actions.”

photo/ engin akyurt

California keeps a list of chemicals it considers possible causes of cancer. One of them is acrylamide, which is created when coffee beans are roasted. The chemical stays in the coffee you drink, in what the court called a “high amount.”

A lawsuit first filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court in 2010 by the nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxics targeted several companies that make or sell coffee. The suit asked for damages and a label to warn consumers.

“It’s not a final decision yet, but I do think this is big news, and I’m much relieved after eight years of work on this,” said attorney Raphael Metzger. “It’s a good day for public health.”

“Coffee has been shown, over and over again, to be a healthy beverage. This lawsuit has made a mockery of Prop 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health,” William Murray, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association, said in an emailed statement.

Coffee has been much studied over the years, and research has shown that it provides several health benefits, including lowering your risk of early death. It may reduce your risk of heart disease, multiple sclerosis, Type 2 diabetes, Alzheimer’s and even some cancers like melanoma and prostate cancer.

The studies showing cancer links between acrylamide in rats and mice used doses “1,000 to 100,000 times higher than the usual amounts, on a weight basis, that humans are exposed to through dietary sources.” (Emphasis added, The Dispatch)

However, a review by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, a branch of the World Health Organization, found that drinking very hot beverages was “probably carcinogenic to humans” due to burns to the esophagus; there was no relation to the chemical acrylamide.

BAD SCIENCE….
In addition to the noted dosages in the rodent studies, humans are also thought to absorb acrylamide at different rates and to metabolize it differently than rodents.
The Food and Drug Administration website says it “is still in the information gathering stage” on the chemical, but it suggested ways for consumers to cut it out of their diet.
2017 study connecting coffee consumption to a longer lifespan stated that “People who consumed a cup of coffee a day were 12% less likely to die during the study period compared to those who didn’t drink coffee. This association was even stronger for those who drank two to three cups a day — 18% reduced chance of death.”

About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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