California businesses that make a profit from coffee could be soon required to display a warning sign about its health risks. The Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) argues that the dark beverage contains a cancer-causing chemical and customers should be aware of it.
In 2010, a dozen of companies, including 7-Eleven and Starbucks, have settled another lawsuit with CERT, agreeing at the time to post warnings about the health hazards of consuming coffee. Currently, CERT wants all retailers to be transparent about the cancer risk when it comes to coffee.
CERT wants the warning sign to specifically say that coffee contains acrylamide, a substance that has been long associated with an increased risk of cancer. It is worth noting that acrylamide is naturally released in the process of roasting coffee beans. The substance is the reason why fried food is not recommended to be eaten in large quantities, either.
The defendants, though, argue that a low level of the toxin has no influence on cancer risk. CERT, on the other hand, sticks to its guns and claims that most retailers in California fail to comply with Proposition 65, a 1986 state law that requires businesses to be sincere about the health hazards of the products they sell.
Coffee Could Cause Cancer
So far, there isn’t a good way of completely removing acrylamide from coffee. However, toxicology expert Ronald Melnick who testified in the first trial says that the toxin can be removed via pre-roasting processes or enhanced plant section.
CERT too wants to eliminate the dangerous chemical and has sued several retailers to force them to invest more in research that can get rid of acrylamide once and for all. The group thinks that it is better to remove the ingredient from coffee altogether than offering cancer hazard warnings to customers.
The World Health Organization, an international public health body, hasn’t found any evidence that acrylamide in coffee could lead to cancer. In fact, the organization’s cancer research arm, the IARC, found that only hot coffee is associated with a higher risk of cancer of the esophagus.
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