“Call it a victory for science — or maybe just for common sense.” – The Seattle Times
It was a good news week for coffee science in California.
Earlier this month, OEHHA (the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment agency) proposed a plan that would exempt coffee from Prop 65 required “cancer warning labels” in California after the most recent ruling in the ongoing legislation.
The statement was met with resounding support from scientists and coffee lovers alike.
“OEHHA’s Rulemaking is supported by both the full weight of scientific evidence and law,” wrote William “Bill” Murray, NCA President and CEO, in comments filed Aug. 30. The letter commended the decision and laid out the strong case for coffee in a scientific summary signed by Dr. Mark Corey, NCA’s Director of Scientific & Government Affairs, and Dr. Alan Leviton, Consultant to the NCA Scientific Advisory Group.
Simply put, the research speaks for itself: coffee does not cause cancer.
Then this week, in a groundbreaking announcement, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a letter to Sacramento which emphatically set forth their support for this rule.
“As a science-based agency, the FDA is committed to ensuring that information being presented on a food’s label is accurate and not misleading,” wrote FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. “If a state law purports to require food labeling to include a false or misleading statement, the FDA may decide to step in.”
The statement reflects the brewing trend of government and health organizations recognizing the research on coffee and health:
- After a recent review, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that there is insufficient evidence to classify coffee as carcinogenic – and that coffee consumption is actually associated with a reduced risk of certain cancers.
- The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services say that up to five cups of coffee per day can be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
- The American Institute for Cancer Research includes coffee on its list of “foods that fight cancer.”
ICYMI, here’s a review of this week’s headlines in the ongoing case of coffee and “cancer” in California:
Raise a Cup to Pushback on California’s Coffee Cancer Warnings
The Seattle Times
“Though long overdue, California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment should be commended for working to update its rules to reflect the latest science.”
FDA to California: Cancer warning labels for coffee would be ‘misleading’
Los Angeles Times
“The ubiquitous beverage has been under fire for the better part of a decade. … A final decision is expected by the end of the year.”
FDA Voices Strong Support to Exempt Coffee from Cancer Warnings
Daily Coffee News
“Despite defying all scientific evidence or simple common sense, the [March 2018 Prop 65] court ruling opened the door to potential civil penalties and other fines for any coffee sellers dating back to 2002.”
Coffee Does Not Merit Cancer Warning Label Ordered In California, FDA Says
“[The NCA’s] Bill Murray embraced the state regulator’s proposal earlier in August. ‘Any outcome other than that which OEHHA proposes would frustrate the scientific, legal and policy rationale upon which Proposition 65 is based,’ he said.”
Don’t Tell People Coffee Causes Cancer, FDA Warns California
“Public health experts and agencies have been understandably aghast about the legal decision.”
Cancer, Schmancer. In California, Coffee Is King
“It turns out that California and the Trump administration do agree on at least one thing: Don’t mess with coffee.”
Check out these NCA resources to learn more about Prop 65, acrylamide, and coffee:
- NCA Member Alerts – login required
- NCA Newsroom
- NCA Guide to Prop 65, Acrylamide, and Coffee
- NCA Comment Letter and Scientific Summary Re: OEHHA Rule – PDF
Please leave your (constructive) comments and additional coverage below.
Compiled by Kyra Auffermann, NCA