Today, California’s Second Appellate District Court stayed the trial that was set to begin on Monday, October 15, 2018, in Los Angeles Superior Court, regarding whether cancer warnings are required for sales of coffee in California.
“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.
A guide to California’s Prop. 65 and ongoing labeling legislation for the informed coffee drinker.
Overwhelming research shows that regular coffee consumption may be linked to a host of potential health benefits, from liver health to longevity.
Scientists believe that the secret lies in coffee’s complex chemistry: There are at least 300 natural compounds in one green bean, and about 1,000 more created in the roasting process – including caffeine (of course), antioxidants, and minerals.
Together, the various things that make up coffee create a delicious brew that can be part of a healthy lifestyle.
However, a long-running lawsuit under California’s controversial Prop 65 regulation has sought to force coffee companies to include “cancer warning labels” on coffee package labels and in coffee shops.
When a Los Angeles judge earlier this month finalized a ruling that coffee sold in California must carry cancer warning labels, many California residents may not have paid much attention to yet another labeling requirement.
Ever since voters passed Proposition 65 more than 30 years ago, after all, Californians have watched the steady proliferation of vague statements about chemicals, cancer, and birth defects. They appear almost everywhere, from the windows of hardware stores to signs at Disneyland. They’re so abundant that Amazon even sells them as stickers in rolls of 500.
Many people have begun to ignore these labels because they’re so common and because the information they convey is almost useless.
So why am I concerned if they now also show up on coffee?
The decision goes against what the science shows us – including the conclusions of the World Health Organization. Study after study, conducted independently and published in peer-reviewed journals, has shown the potential health benefits of drinking coffee — from liver health to living longer.
While the vast majority of reports have noted the lack of scientific evidence linking coffee to cancer, that kind of widespread publicity naturally creates more questions than answers. Such is the nature of the 24-hour news cycle, in which many people can’t afford the time to read beyond the headlines.
So as the two big Cs of coffee and cancer have shared the public stage, a third big C has swept over the audience: confusion.
Recently, there’s been a flurry of media activity around a long-pending legal case in California, which could potentially result in mandatory “cancer warning” labels on all coffee cups and packaging. The headlines have been confusing, and sometimes even alarming.
After a deeply divisive campaign, a new administration is poised to assume power in Washington, having been elected on a platform which has expressed skepticism toward big government and regulatory intervention.
The transfer of power has only just begun, cabinet and agency appointments are a still in progress, and budget negotiations are far off – including the implications of funding cutbacks or additions.
In the meantime, we’re preparing for the changes that may be ahead. Earlier this year, the NCA released the first-ever Economic Impact Study to measure the U.S. coffee economy, and the NCA’s 2017 plan already includes outreach in Washington to raise awareness of the industry’s importance. That outreach will now take on even greater significance as the coming months unfold.
The NCA will not speculate as to what these changes in Washington may mean for coffee. But it’s never too soon to begin planning, and here are some key issues on the industry’s docket: