A judge in Los Angeles has ruled that California law should be adapted to oblige coffee companies like Starbucks to carry a cancer warning on their products, as the manner in which the coffee beans are roasted brings with it a chemical process which heightens the risk of the person drinking it to acquire the deadly disease.
The case had been going on for about 8 years and was started by a non-profit group that wanted a state law which requires coffee roasters, retailers, and various distributors to put a warning on all kinds of products which that carry chemicals which can cause cancer. One of the chemicals targeted by the group is acrylamide, a carcinogen present in coffee.
<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">.<a href="https://twitter.com/Starbucks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Starbucks</a> and other coffee sellers must put a cancer warning on coffee sold in California, a Los Angeles judge ruled. <a href="https://t.co/VaAZv2R0P3">https://t.co/VaAZv2R0P3</a> <a href="https://t.co/iOpYGEXvro">pic.twitter.com/iOpYGEXvro</a></p>— CBS News (@CBSNews) <a href="https://twitter.com/CBSNews/status/979544216459268096?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">March 30, 2018</a></blockquote>
<script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Starbucks had failed to show that the threat of the chemical being produced during their roasting process was insignificant and therefore the judge ruled in favor of the non-profit group.
Judge Elihu Berle of the Los Angeles superior court wrote: “While plaintiff offered evidence that consumption of coffee increases the risk of harm to the fetus, to infants, to children and to adults, defendants’ medical and epidemiology experts testified that they had no opinion on causation.”
“Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health.”
Should the judge rule on a penalty if Starbucks does not follow suit, legal experts claim that this could go as high as $2,500 per person exposed to the product. In a state of 40 million people and many Starbucks shops, that is an astronomical figure.