A Los Angeles judge has ruled that Starbucks and other coffee seller must put up a cancer warning on the beverage sold in California.
The verdict came after a not-for-profit group sued 90 coffee retailers, including Starbucks, saying they violated the California state's law requiring the firms to caution the consumers of dangerous chemicals in their products capable of causing cancer.
One such hazardous chemical is acrylamide, a by-product of roasting coffee beans that can are present in brewed coffee in high quantities.
The judge of the Superior Court, Elihu Berle, said in
The verdict delivered on Wednesday, March 28, that the companies, including Starbucks could not show that there was no considerable risk from a carcinogen which is produced during the roasting of coffee.
Starbucks and other firms have time till April 10 to object to the decision. Starbucks did not issue any statement on the issue and asked the media to refer to the stand taken by the National Coffee Association that the industry was thinking of appealing against the decision and legal move. According to the body, putting cancer warnings on coffee would be "misleading" since the US government's own guidelines on diet say approve coffee as a part of a healthy food regime.
The case was filed in 2010 by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics that sought fines as big as $2,500 per person for each exposure to the chemical since 2002 at shops in California.
The first phase went against Starbucks as it failed to show the level of acrylamide in coffee was within non-threatening limits. In the second trial too, the defendants struggled to show that there was an acceptable "alternative" risk level for the cancer-threatening object, the court papers said.
The third phase would decide the civil penalties.