California judge demands warning labels on coffee, stirs debate

Around the World

Elihu Berle, a Los Angeles superior court’s judge ruled in favour of the Council for Education and Research on Toxics, a non-profit advocacy group suing the coffee industry and alleging that the levels of acrylamide a chemical produced when coffee beans are roasted in an average cup of coffee are potentially dangerous to consumers. Coffee producers along with most doctors and researchers strongly disagree, insisting that the amount of acrylamide poses no significant threat to consumers.

Judge Berle found that the 90 companies named in the lawsuit including Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and Peet’s failed to prove their case against the effects of acrylamide. After the deadline to file appeal ended on April 10, the final stage of the trial would determine civil penalties where coffee shops could wind up paying up to $2,500 for every coffee drinker each day since the lawsuit was filed in 2010.