California nonprofit wants cancer warning labels on coffee


Starbucks and other coffee chains are being sued for alleged presence of toxins in their products.

Starbucks and other coffee chains are being sued for alleged presence of toxins in their products.

Starbucks and other chain coffee shops are being sued by a California nonprofit known as Council for Education and Research on Toxins, or CERT.

The group claims the presence of the carcinogen acrylamide could link consuming coffee from these chain shops to developing cancer.

The lawsuit would require the shops to include a “contains chemicals linked to cancer” warning on the individual cups of coffee or pay a $2,500 a day fine.

Dr. Stanley Omaye a professor of nutrition and toxicology at the University of Nevada considers the lawsuit to be unfounded.
“You would have to drink probably over 100 cups of coffee a day in order to get to that dangerous dose, so it is totally absurd,” Omaye said.

University of San Diego students responded overwhelmingly that the proposed label wouldn’t discourage them from buying their daily coffee. Most assume the lawsuit is being blown out of proportion even before hearing the quote from Omaye.

Freshman and avid coffee drinker Spencer Glazzy is skeptical of the claims.

“I really wouldn’t care and it seems that there is a new claim everyday about something that causes cancer,” Glazzy said.
All tobacco products in the United States contain warnings that the products cause cancer. While these warnings are linked to serious studies and definitive risk, Harvard School of Public Health studies show over 23 percent of college students still use tobacco products.

An anonymous student and smoker justified his tobacco use.

“Most of all I enjoy it and I plan on stopping eventually,” the anonymous student said.

It seems that warnings are not enough to change consumer behavior and the warnings this lawsuit require would be uninfluential.

In Europe, cancer warnings on tobacco are gigantic, bolded and have pictures of victims. In a similar health-conscious move, Europe has far more regulation on the quality of coffee that can be sold, and every year mass quantities are rejected for sale because of the levels of toxins and carcinogens.

In fact, large corporations such as Starbucks purchase rejected European coffee and sell it in the states. Asoa toxin B1 and Ochratoxin A have been linked to cancer and have been shown to be present in coffee from chains such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s.

However, this topic is under-researched. Thus, the exact level of these toxins remains unclear.

Consumer fear of the presence of toxins in coffee has led to the rise in the “bulletproof” coffee movement.

Bulletproof coffee is brewed with organic coffee and blended with unsalted grass-fed butter and coconut oil to maximize the effect of the caffeine and reduce the “crash” that most coffee causes.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many options for students living in dorms.

Those committed to drinking toxin-free coffee could purchase an electric tea kettle for boiling water, a portable coffee grinder and a small blender.

Another option is eating a healthier diet to gain more natural energy and reduce the need for caffeine.

Ultimately, many options exist for tired students craving some quick energy.