Dawn Koepke

Proposition 65 may soon ensnare your breakfast

By Dawn Koepke

Capitol Update, March 30, 2018 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

This week a California superior court judge in Los Angeles ruled coffee shops and other retail establishments serving coffee may have to provide a warning to consumers tied to that cup of joe.  The proponents and court argued that the companies failed to prove no significant risk to the consumer related to chemicals like acrylamide that may be in the coffee when consumed. 

The suit was originally filed in 2010 by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics who targeted a few large retail entities selling coffee. The argument was that the entities failed to provide a warning to consumers as provided for under Proposition 65 when the presence of a chemical is at such a level to impact a consumer’s health.  Ultimately, the court didn’t agree that the level of acrylamide in coffee is safe and has various health benefits that outweigh the risk, as argued by the companies.  Notably, litigation on acrylamide is not new with a number of food companies having previously been subjected to litigation related to the chemical and warning considerations, many of whom have ultimately moved to provide warnings and paid penalties. 

The companies have until April 10th to file their objections to the ruling. 

And as if your morning coffee being the target of Proposition 65 wasn’t enough, SCR 100 introduced by Senator Ricardo Lara (D- Long Beach) has the potential to impact your morning bacon and sausage as well.  While typically resolutions are less concerning, SCR 100 would set a highly concerning precedent by having the Legislature weigh in on the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment’s (OEHHA) decision to add (or not) processed meats to the Proposition 65 list of chemicals. The listing interest is based on the controversial Labor Code listing mechanism that relies for this product category on the further controversial, unaccountable decisions of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). 

CMTA is opposed to SCR 100 and the highly concerning precedent that would be set by the Legislature weighing in on chemical-product decisions, rather than relying on scientists better prepared to evaluate the risks and need for such warnings associated with Proposition 65.  Stay tuned...

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