California coffee lovers can indulge their caffeine habit without worry now the state has decided the beverage doesn't need a cancer warning after all.
A state regulator's conclusion comes eight years after dozens of coffee roasters and retailers - including Starbucks, Nestle USA and Amazon's Whole Foods Market - were accused in a lawsuit of violating a state law that requires warning labels on toxic substances. A Los Angeles judge's ruling last year requiring the warnings could have resulted in millions of dollars in fines for the companies for failing to alert consumers sooner.
The judge determined the warnings were needed because coffee roasting produces trace amounts of acrylamide, a known carcinogen, although the retailers argued there's no scientific evidence linking coffee consumption with an increased risk of cancer.
That's when the state regulator in charge of the list of chemicals that require warnings swung into action and recommended an exemption for coffee.
"Everybody feels a little healthier now," said Chuck Jones of Jones Coffee Roasters in Pasadena. "This is a big relief."
Mr Jones said his company is the smallest defendant among the coffee sellers. He said he has spent $170,000 (€151,000) on lawyers' fees in the case. (© Bloomberg)