Cream, milk, sugar, ice and now, a cancer warning.
That is a list of some of the things that you’ll be able to get with your coffee in Starbucks stores that are based in California from now on.
Of course, the first four items on the list are optional, but the last is now compulsory, after a LA judge ruled that the company and several other coffee sellers must put a warning for their consumers if they are to sell coffee.
Starbucks must now warn consumers about one of the chemicals within coffee and its potentially carcinogenic properties. This came after a not-for-profit group brought an action against 90 coffee sellers, including Starbucks, using a Californian law that states that companies need to warn customers about any products they sell which may hold carcinogenic chemicals.
The chemical in question here is acrylamide, which shows up in brewed coffee. The LA Superior Court judged ruled that the companies in question failed to show to customers that their is a significant risk from this chemical. Thus, the companies in question will now have to make their warnings more visible.
Starbucks refused to comment, but pointed reporters towards a National Coffee Association statement which insisted that putting these labels on coffee would be “misleading.” This statement also insists that coffee can be consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle.
The non-profit who filed the lawsuit, Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT), has called for fines as large as $2,500 for every person who was exposed to the chemical since 2002. Civil penalties have not yet been decided, but this could represent a huge loss to companies who sell coffee to consumers within California.
According to published documents, some of the companies in question settled the case before it got this far, by agreeing to put warnings on their site and and by paying millions of dollars in fines.