Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coffee, Cancer and Proposition 65

When the government starts interfering in my coffee drinking they’ve crossed the line! The Coffee Bean that I work at is now required to post a Proposition 65 warning stating that brewed coffee contains acrylamide which in large doses can cause cancer.

The fact is that “Acrylamide is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in many plant-based, high-carbohydrate foods after they are heated. It was first discovered to be present in food by the Swedish National Food Authority in 2002.” According to Wikipedia studies have found acrylamide in black olives, prunes, dried pears and coffee. Prune juice has a high concentration and it is found in cocoa powder, roasted almonds, whole wheat breat and Pringles.

So how did it come about that Coffee Bean, Peets and Starbucks (to name a few) must post signage stating that coffee may cause cancer? On February 2, 2010, the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (“CERT”), a public interest group, issued a series of pre-litigation notices of intent to sue a number of companies, including Peets, which sell “ready to drink” coffee in California for allegedly failing to issue clear and reasonable warnings with regard to potential exposures to acrylamide in accordance with Proposition 65. There were a number of companies named in an action filed in California Superior Court, Los Angeles County, on August 7, 2010. On December 14, 2010, CERT served a new 60-day notice letter alleging additional violations of Proposition 65 arising from potential acrylamide exposures from coffee sold at retail and brewed and consumed elsewhere.

This is what happens in a state (California) which is hyper litigious and excercises strong government interference in the lives of the people. Coffee prices which are already to high are now going to be even higher as they need to protect themselves from lawyers and fringe groups like CERT.

This is the crazy thing. Proposition 65 may have been written with good intentions. Now it is used to turn people away from coffee shops in California. Despite there being significant scientific and anecdotal evidence that coffee drinking is good for you CERT would have you believe that it will give you cancer. What next? Will we all be required to carry umbrellas because the sun causes skin cancer? Will they outlaw bringing food to a high heat? Will the elderly be forced to give up prunes?

This is an example of why we need less government in our lives. We need to cut back on laws which benefit small fringe groups. We need to be governed with common sense and sane ideas established in bedrock truth. This is the principle our country was founded on. Tea party, yes! Coffee party, perhaps. This whole thing makes me so mad I could spit. There’s probably a law against that though---or a special interest group suing to get one.

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