Small Legal Case May Cost Coffee Industry

Sep 27, 2017

Sellers of coffee may have to post cancer warning signs in California depending upon the verdict in a little known class-action lawsuit. The case centers around acrylamide, “a carcinogen found in cooked foods such as French fries that is also a natural byproduct of the coffee roasting process.” The coffee industry is having to prove that acrylamide “is at harmless levels and is outweighed by benefits from drinking coffee.” Raphael Metzger, the attorney who is spearheading the complaint, says that his goal is to get the industry to remove the chemical. “I’m addicted — like two-thirds of the population. I would like the industry to get acrylamide out of the coffee so my addiction doesn’t force me to ingest it.” Several companies have paid substantial sums to settle complaints and are posting signs in their business locations. Defense attorneys in the class-action case are pinning their hopes on an exemption clause for “chemicals that result naturally form cooking necessary for palatability or to avoid microbiological contamination.”