California Coffee Cancer Warning Up in Smoke

Following a year-long battle, the dispute over whether coffee is considered a carcinogen according to California law has officially been decided: coffee sellers in the state no longer have to post cancer warnings. In April 2018, a California judge ruled that cafés in the state had to post signage in their businesses and on products warning customers of a possible link between coffee and cancer due to the naturally occurring compound acrylamide under state law Proposition 65. The decision had been opposed by the FDA, the National Coffee Association, and the state’s own regulatory agency. On May 31, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, which administers Prop 65, officially ruled to exempt coffee from Prop 65.

National Coffee Association President and CEO William (Bill) Murray applauded the office’s decision.

“These labels and signs have confused consumers—for good reason,” he said in a statement. “The very idea of ‘cancer warnings’ for coffee contradicts the overwhelming real-world evidence. Literally hundreds of independent, peer-reviewed scientific studies—not funded by the coffee industry—show that drinking coffee may reduce the risk of serious diseases including liver cancer, endometrial cancer, melanoma, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes—and more. Research also suggests that coffee drinkers may live longer than non-coffee drinkers.”