Starbucks and a host of other coffee sellers are fighting a lawsuit that alleges roasted coffee beans contain low levels of a carcinogen — and therefore coffee products sold in California, from lattes to packaged beans, should carry Surgeon General-like warnings.
A little-known public interest group, the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, or CERT, sued roughly 70 companies, claiming the state’s Proposition 65, which requires warning labels on anything that contains materials that cause cancer, should apply to coffee.
Roasted coffee beans contain low levels of acrylamide, a carcinogen, CERT claims in court papers.
The coffee industry argues that the trace amounts of acrylamide found in coffee are too insignificant to cause a health risk — and foods such as toast, cereals, roasted asparagus and baby food all contain the chemical.
In July, the results of a study published by the American College of Physicians showed that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of death from a number of deadly diseases.
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