A list of chemicals considered possible determinants of developing cancer was issued in California, and unfortunately, one of them, acrylamide, is formed after the bean roasting process.

A lawsuit first filed back in 2010, is currently confusing customers that were already told by The US Government’s Dietary Guidelines, that coffee is a healthy beverage.

The lawsuit asks companies to give a warning about the chemicals alongside an explanation of the dangers of drinking coffee; they also claim the coffee shops should pay fines.

Acrylamide in coffee, California to put warnings on coffee products, Cancer and coffee
The dangerous chemical develops in the process of roasting the coffee beans. Image credit: Ali Baba

Not a conclusive evidence, at least for big companies

The National Toxicology Program’s Report on Carcinogens recognizes the chemical acrylamide to be “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen.” The Food and Drug Administration claims the chemical is still being studied, although they suggest some strategies to reduce the levels of the chemical. However, they are not required.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer cataloged acrylamide as a carcinogen for humans by studying it in animals. Studies practiced on humans exposed that the connection between the dietary intake of the chemical and cancer is not significant at all.

At least 13 companies came to an agreement with the Council for Education and Research on Toxics following the mentioned lawsuit and announced they would be adding warnings to the coffee they serve.

Among the other companies included, Starbucks referred some doubts to the National Coffee Association, but the response was not conclusive since that decided to stay away from the litigation.

The warning on the served coffee will say:

“Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity, including acrylamide, are present in coffee, baked goods, and other food or beverages sold here. Acrylamide is not added to our products, but results from cooking, such as when coffee beans are roasted or baked goods are baked. As a result, acrylamide is present in our brewed coffee.”

Found everywhere

Some studies defined coffee as a cancer-fighting product since it contains antioxidants that could help reduce the risk of developing heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It is also thought to help age better, therefore live longer.

While these characteristics define coffee as a healthful beverage just as The US Government’s Dietary Guidelines depicted, the chemical creating the whole rage against the drink, is found in food as well. Fast food restaurants in California had to add the warning label to their served food because of this.

The average American consumes the chemical not just in his coffee, but in his meal since it is contained in fried foods like french fries, potato chips and also in baby food and baked goods.

The only confirmed damage related to cancer that coffee could cause is due to its temperature. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, explains that hot beverages overall, not just coffee, could help develop esophageal cancer.

Source: CNN