Acrylamide and Possible Legal Implications for Coffee Companies

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986—better known as Proposition 65—calls for consumer warnings about the presence of listed chemicals associated with environmental and other chemical contaminants, including those found naturally in foods or created in cooking or processing. The Proposition 65 list of regulated substances spans chemicals in the environment and workplace, as well as naturally occurring and synthetic substances such as pesticides, household product ingredients, drugs, dyes, solvents, heavy metals and chemical byproducts.

For coffee, the issue of acrylamide arises in the roasting process. As coffee beans are roasted, natural sugars and moisture enable the desirable browning process, which chemically creates some acrylamide. At highly exaggerated and concentrated levels, acrylamide has caused tumors in laboratory animals at extremely high doses when the chemical is fed to rats and mice for their entire lifetimes. Epidemiological studies have proven that consumer exposure to acrylamide poses no risk to humans.

Nevertheless, (greedy) lawyers in the USA (California) have found ways to sue coffee companies for this issue, forcing coffee companies to settle pending lawsuits and requiring warning labels to be placed on or near coffee products that possibly contain acrylamide.

March 22, 2016

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