Changes May Be Coming To California Coffee Cups

California’s Proposition 65 already requires the nation’s most stringent labeling of products containing potentially cancer-causing chemicals. But a new ruling by a judge in California may take it even one step further by requiring coffee-sellers to put a warning on coffee cups sold to the public.

The Safe Drinking Water & Toxic Enforcement Act was implemented in 1986 to protect consumers from products containing chemicals known to cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The recent judge’s ruling in this case centers around a chemical used in coffee bean processing known as acrylamide. This same chemical was the focus of a complaint against the potato chip industry several years back that forced manufacturers to remove the chemical from their processes.

Coffee companies insist that removing the chemical would damage the quality of their product. Furthermore, they also question the scientific findings around the labeling of coffee as a “potential carcinogen.”

While some shops have already begun posting signs warning consumers about the presence of acrylamide, critics say that the warnings need to be on the cups themselves, similar to the warnings found on cigarette packages. This could have far-reaching implications as many of the national chains affected by this ruling operate nationwide. Which means that consumers across the nation would also see warnings on their cups unless special cups are created just for California. Pundits believe that this would be cost prohibitive and that it would likely be on all a company’s cups nationwide.

No timetable has been set for implementation of these new rules, but portions of the case are ongoing. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.

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