Killer Coffee? California May Exempt Coffee Industry from Prop 65 Warning Requirements

Attorney Stephen T. Holzer

Stephen T. Holzer | Shareholder

June 15, 2018

We told you about the lawsuit brought against nearly 100 food industry companies regarding the lack of Prop 65 warnings in restaurants and stores selling coffee. The problem is the potential presence of acrylamide when coffee is roasted or brewed – one of the many chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive damage.

Under California law, businesses with 10 or more employees must post Prop 65 warning signs and labels on the premises or on food packaging, warning consumers of possible exposure to these health risks.

In May of 2018, a Los Angeles Superior Court finalized a tentative ruling stating the Defendants (which include major chains like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts and others) failed to show that acrylamide in coffee posed no significant risk.

But there’s something new brewing: The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) may try to sweeten an otherwise bitter situation. The Office is proposing adding a new section to Article 7 of Title 27 of the California Code of Regulations section 25704. The new section would state that exposures to acrylamide from coffee pose no risk of cancer.

The catch is the proposal has to undergo a public hearing in August 16, 2018 in Sacramento, and a written comment period that ends at the end of August. Written comments can be sent to:

Ms. Monet Vela

Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment
P. O. Box 4010
Sacramento, California 95812-4010

Telephone: 916-323-2517
Fax:  916-323-2610

Email: monet.vela@oehha.ca.gov

Coffee retailers, restaurant owners, distributors, importers and resellers who don’t want to label packaging or post signage at their place of business regarding acrylamide in coffee should act quickly.

But these same businesses and nearly every other one in California are also reminded that the Prop 65 text on signs and labels needs as of August 30, 2018 to change on other products that contain potentially toxic substances. Please read OEHHA’s New Prop 65 Warnings for the specific requirements.

Stephen T. Holzer is the Chair of our Environmental Practice Group and a Shareholder in our Business Litigtion Practice Group.

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This Blog/Web Site is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to provide general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog/Web Site publisher. The Blog/Web Site should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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