News

Legal judgment: will coffee products soon have to warn of possible cancer risks?


Starbucks and co must label coffee with cancer warning

Starbucks and other coffee providers are said to have given their coffee products a cancer warning. This was decided by a judge in the US state of California. Apparently, the companies could not prove that a chemical compound that occurs during roasting is not harmful to health.

Coffee products must have a cancer warning

In the US state of California, a judge ruled that the Starbucks coffee house chain and other coffee suppliers on their coffee products must warn of cancer risks in the future. According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, judge Elihu M. Berle said that the companies could not prove that the risk posed by a chemical compound that occurs when coffee is roasted is negligible.

Carcinogenic substances

The judge's decision came after the non-governmental organization "CERT" ("Council for Education and Research on Toxics") filed a lawsuit against more than 90 coffee roasters because they would not warn of a high concentration of acrylamide in their products.

This substance belongs to the more than 850 confirmed or suspected carcinogens, which must be warned of under California law.

Berle said that scientists who testified on behalf of the coffee companies have not proven that the level of acrylamide in their products is acceptable.

Acrylamide in food

Acrylamide has long been suspected of causing cancer.

For example, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) warned years ago of the increased cancer risk from acrylamide in food.

The British Food Standards Agency (FSA) also reports on its website that this substance has been shown to be carcinogenic in studies in animals, but no such evidence is available in humans.

Genotoxic substance arises from strong heating

Acrylamide is formed when foods containing starch are heated to high temperatures, which also contain the amino acid asparagine.

From temperatures of around 120 degrees, acrylamide, a substance that is genotoxic, forms in such foods. That means it damages the DNA.

In the past, high levels of acrylamide were often found in examinations in chips, fried potatoes and frozen fries.

"Potato products such as chips, potato pancakes and French fries as well as cereal products such as crispbread, crackers and cookies have the highest acrylamide content," the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) wrote in a message. Depending on the degree of roasting, coffee also contains more or less acrylamide.

Effects on taste

According to Berle, the plaintiff was able to provide evidence of the harmful effects, while the defendant could not refute them.

According to the Los Angeles Times report, the coffee industry had claimed that it was impossible to eliminate acrylamide without affecting the taste. In addition, the amount contained is harmless.

CERT attorney Raphael Metzger said he hoped the judge's decision would force companies to commit to reducing the amount of acrylamide in coffee.

"If my addiction forces me to drink coffee, I would prefer to drink acrylamide-free coffee," says Metzger. He said about the companies: “They just don't want to change. They want to continue as before. "

Both sides now have the opportunity to appeal. Then Berle wants to make the final decision.

According to the judge, the law stipulates that a consumer can receive compensation between one cent and $ 2,500 if he is not warned that he has been exposed to a dangerous chemical. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Is Coffee Bad for You? Dr. Josh Axe (August 2020).