Starbucks Coffee in California will now come with a cancer warning.
A California judge has ordered not only Starbucks but all coffee chains in the state that they must start adding a cancer warning on all bags of coffee that are sold. This ruling has the potential to expose companies to millions of dollars in fines if they do not comply.
COFFEE WARNING: A judge today ruled Starbucks and other coffee shops in California most now include cancer warnings on coffee, after critics claimed they were violating a state law requiring potentially dangerous chemicals to be identified. @DavidMuir reports. #TheIndex pic.twitter.com/RDxWR8yOdR— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) March 30, 2018
According to Reuters, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle sent her decision down on Wednesday, saying companies like Starbucks have failed to show there was a significant risk from a carcinogen produced in the coffee roasting process.
“Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving by a preponderance of evidence that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health,” Berle shared in a statement about how he came to his decision.
Starbucks has not issued a statement regarding the new California law. However, the Seattle based company has instead been referring the media to a statement by the National Coffee Association.
Coffee Sellers Can't Dodge California Cancer-Warning Law, Judge Says pic.twitter.com/39buqJdGLx— Playaria.tk (@Playariadottk) March 31, 2018
“Cancer warning labels on coffee would be misleading. The U.S. government’s own Dietary Guidelines state that coffee can be part of a healthy lifestyle,” read the NCA statement.
The companies affected by the new law have until April 10th to file any objections they have about the ruling. This new law also affects Dunkin Donuts and McDonalds, and neither of them have publicly or lawfully responded. It is not just the large corporations that will have to follow the cancer warning law, with any coffee company in the state having to adhere to the new law.
Council for Education and Research on Toxics filed the lawsuit which created the new law, after several of the companies, including Starbucks, failed to prove level of acrylamide in coffee was below that which would pose a significant risk of cancer. They also failed to prove there was an acceptable “alternative” risk level for the carcinogen.
Judge rules California law requires coffee companies to carry cancer warning label.— Kurt Chirbas (@kchirbas) March 30, 2018
Plaintiffs argued companies sell coffee containing high levels of acrylamide, a toxic and carcinogenic chemical.
Defendants failed to offer substantial evidence against this claim, judge wrote. pic.twitter.com/Gc2jxhdvu1
Some of the coffee companies involved in the original lawsuit agreed to post signage in order to avoid fines. It is not clear when the law goes into affect or how long the companies have to ensure all of their coffee products are properly labeled.