Coffee Doesn’t Need Cancer Warning, California Health Agency Says

By Cody Briana on June 18, 2018
(Photo By: David Becker / Getty Images for Palms Casino Resort)

I was grabbing napkins inside a Starbucks this weekend and noticed the cancer-causing chemical warning sign glaring back at me from the condiments table. Ugh. Everything causes cancer these days! Do I need the reminder right before I sip on the only thing that keeps me going? Then I felt bad for independent coffee shops who take pride in serving locally roasted, fair trade coffee. They, too, have to display these annoying signs.

Why? Proposition 65 states that if product contains enough acrylamide to pose a potential risk of cancer, it has to be labeled. However, acrylamide is produced naturally through the roasting process. Coffee also has a ton of cancer-fighting antioxidants. Plus, the American Cancer Society is still uncertain whether the chemical actually increases the risk.

With that said, those signs might be going away just 3 months after a California judge ordered coffee sellers to warn customers. WSIN reports a state health agency drafted new regulations that would eliminate the need for such labels because there’s no scientific evidence to support them. Yup. It’s that simple.

“Extensive scientific evidence” shows that “drinking coffee has not been shown to increase the risk of cancer and may reduce the risk of some types of cancer,” the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment said.

The agency has scheduled a hearing on its proposed updated regulation for Aug. 16 and will accept public comment through Aug. 30. It will then be reviewed by the state Office of Administrative Law for compliance with Prop. 65 and other laws. The rule could take effect Jan. 1., if all goes according to plan.

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