In a preliminary ruling, which, however, is not yet final, it has been ruled that Starbucks should place cancer warning signs on their coffee products. Also, this measure targets other coffee merchants. The decision came after as NGO concluded that the Starbucks coffee could be carcinogenic, upon a study.
It all started in 2010, when an NGO sued a group of coffee products merchants, including Starbucks, for violating the law since they are not placing cancer warnings on the coffee cups they sell.
According to the NGO, all the coffee products sold by Starbucks and other vendors contain acrylamide, a substance that is cancerogenic.
On the other hand, the sued companies’ lawyers stated that the substance is indeed present in the coffee products but at safe levels.
Coffee has been removed from the WHO’s “Possible Carcinogens” list
Just two years ago, in 2016, cancer researching subsidiary of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed coffee from the WHO’s list of “Possible Carcinogens”.
The substance under review, the acrylamide, is produced during the coffee beans toasting process and it remains in the coffee in a larger amount, according to the court’s decision that judged this case.
The decision came despite this fact that WHO removed coffee from its carcinogenic products and this ruling stipulates that the coffee you buy from vendors such as Starbucks could be carcinogenic thus, they should place cancer warnings on the coffee cups they sell. The decision is also directed towards other coffee products merchants.
Acrylamide reduction is not mandatory, according to the FDA
Coffee companies, on the other hand, kept arguing that the acrylamide in the coffee products they sell is at safe levels and is overcame by the coffee’s health benefits.
The Report of the National Toxicology Program on Carcinogens considers that acrylamide is “reasonably anticipated as a human carcinogen”.
The FDA provided guidance to the industry with the intention of suggesting a series of approaches that companies could use to reduce acrylamide levels. The recommendations are only a guide and “are not mandatory”, according to the website.
Thus, the court’s decision to force companies to place cancer warnings on the coffee products they sell is controversial and far from being the final decision as the lawsuit continues. In the meanwhile, coffee you buy from vendors such as Starbucks could be carcinogenic.