Sugar, Cream and a Prop 65 Warning Label With Your Coffee?

Prop. 65 warningAttorneys for Starbucks Corp. and other coffee sellers have less than two weeks to persuade a Los Angeles County judge to reconsider a proposed ruling that could force them to post cancer warnings in stores and on packages.

Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle, in a tentative decision issued Wednesday after a trial, said Starbucks and dozens of other defendants had failed to prove that the level of acrylamide in their coffee poses no significant health risk.

“Defendants did not offer substantial evidence to quantify any minimum amount of acrylamide in coffee that might be necessary to reduce microbiological contamination or render coffee palatable,” Berle wrote in his proposed statement of decision. He said the proffered evidence that coffee has some health benefit “was not persuasive and was refuted by plaintiffs’ evidence.”

Acrylamide, which occurs naturally in the bean-roasting process, is listed as a potential reproductive and cancer risk under California’s Proposition 65. The 31-year-old voter-approved law requires businesses to warn consumers when they are exposed to one of approximately 900 state-listed chemicals. Those that don’t comply can be sued and face civil penalties of up to $2,500 per day, per violation. …

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