California officials, having concluded coffee drinking is not a risky pastime, are proposing a regulation that will essentially tell consumers of America's favorite beverage they can drink up without fear, per the AP. The unprecedented action Friday by the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment to propose a regulation to clear coffee of the stigma comes three months after a judge ordered coffee sellers in the state to warn customers that coffee poses a cancer risk. But “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,” declared the state office, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. If the regulation is adopted—the first step is a period of public comment—it would be a huge win for the coffee industry.
That's because the industry faces potentially massive civil penalties after losing an 8-year-old lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court that could require scary warnings on all coffee packaging sold in California. The state agency implements a 1986 law that requires warnings of chemicals known to cause cancer and birth defects. One of those chemicals is acrylamide, a byproduct of coffee roasting and brewing present in every cup of joe. In March, Judge Elihu Berle found that Starbucks and other coffee roasters had failed to show that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any risks. Big Coffee didn't deny that acrylamide was found in the coffee, but argued it was only found at low levels and was outweighed by other benefits such as antioxidants that reduce cancer risk. The state office agrees.
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