According to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), acrylamide, a derivative of certain sugars and asparagine – an amino acid – that forms in certain foods as a direct result of cooking with high temperatures, was found to cause cancer in test animals given high doses of the substance.
The FDA further indicated that it has been aware of acrylamide’s presence in primarily plant-based foods since 2002, but believes that acrylamide has likely always been found in cooked foodstuffs.
Now, in the state of proactively-minded California, all entities selling or manufacturing coffee must provide consumers with warnings that indicate the popular morning-time favorite could cause cancer.
Long, long ago – OK, not that long ago, just 10 years – the Council for Education and Research on Toxins filed a claim in 2008 that aimed its legal focus at coffee vendors like Starbucks. The claim was legally made on the grounds of California’s own Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, a long-standing bill that mandates employers with more than 10 workers must tell potential customers that toxic cancer-causing substances could be found in their products.
Elihu Berle, a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge, ruled on Wednesday in support of the Council for Education and Research on Toxins’ lawsuit, now forcing companies that sell coffee to carry a label that states the product contains carcinogenic material. The lawsuit indicated that acrylamide was created during the roasting process.
It’s important to keep in mind that roasting refers to the process by which beans are heated for various periods of time, turning green beans into dark ones, those that taste like coffee’s supposed to. Even though under high-grade, accurate chemical testing there’s not much of a difference between unroasted, green coffee beans and their roasted counterparts – when considering the content of sugar, caffeine, and other constituents of coffee – acrylamide is unwaveringly created during roasting, which encouraged Judge Berle to rule in favor of the 2008 lawsuit.
California is unique in many ways – including the fact it’s the most active state in America in terms of economic activity, and the seventh-largest in the world – one of which is the requirement of companies selling various products to inform consumers of potential and proven carcinogens, or substances that cause cancer, like tobacco and modern cigarettes’ many ingredients.
According to the American Council on Science and Health, the lawsuit was one of many attempts of various lawsuits to take home “a giant bag of money.”