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Cancerous Coffee

Harsh Chemicals in Your Starbucks Could Cause Cancer

Becky deMontigny, Head Writer

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Recently, 90 coffee retailers were sued in California due to failing to warn consumers that their products contained chemicals that could possibly cause cancer. Of these 90 businesses, Starbucks was included. They are now being asked to put warning labels on every drink.

One of the major chemicals being discovered in drinks is acrylamide; a byproduct of roasting coffee beans. It has been found in high levels in brewed coffee.

In Los Angeles Supreme Court Judge Elihu Berle stated that Starbucks failed to show that their coffee posed no serious risk from carcinogens produced whole roasting coffee. Starbucks chose not to comment on this ordeal and instead referred reporters to a statement by the National Coffee Association that said, “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.”

Other companies like Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s also chose not to respond when asked to comment. Because of this a lawsuit was filed by the Council for Education and Research on Toxins that called for fines up to $2,500 per person for every exposure to the chemical since 2002 at the defendants’ shops in California.

In the trial’s first phase, Starbucks failed to show the level of acrylamide in their coffee was below that which would pose a high risk of cancer. Due to this the major coffee chain lost the first phase. In the trial’s second phase these companies failed to prove there was an acceptable “alternative” risk level for this major carcinogen.

Several of the 90 companies charged settled with the decision in court this last Wednesday. They agreed to post signage about the cancer-linked chemical on their products and pay millions in fines.

For these reasons Californians may be seeing warning labels on their Starbucks cups in the near future.

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