Judge Says Coffee Sold in California Must Carry Cancer Warnings

Coffee sold in California must carry cancer warnings, a judge said in a final ruling Monday.

Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said coffee roasters and retailers did not prove that benefits from drinking coffee outweighed any cancer risks from a chemical called acrylamide that is a byproduct of the roasting process, the Associated Press reported.

Berle's final decision confirms one he initially made in March in a lawsuit brought against about 90 companies by the nonprofit group Council for Education and Research on Toxics under a California law that requires warnings on products and in places where chemicals that can cause cancer are present.

The final ruling means the nonprofit group can seek a permanent injunction that would either lead to coffee warning labels or a pledge by the coffee industry to remove the chemical from their product, as the potato chip industry was forced to do when sued by the council, the AP reported.

Attorney Raphael Metzger represents the nonprofit and said he hopes mediation will lead to a settlement.

If no agreement is reached, the next step in the legal process would award civil penalties as high as $2,500 per person exposed each day since the suit was filed in 2010, the AP reported.

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