Don't Misunderstand the Prop 65 Coffee Ruling
Press coverage of a recent, high-profile preliminary decision under California's Proposition 65 law may prompt readers to a simple, erroneous conclusion: "Coffee causes cancer." In reality, the decision made no such finding, and while, if the decision stands, its practical impact could be big for coffee makers, a careful understanding of the narrow basis of the ruling is important for coffee consumers and for all manner of product-based companies doing business in California.
On March 28, 2018, Judge Elihu Berle issued a preliminary decision in favor of the plaintiffs in Council for Education and Research on Toxics v. Starbucks Corp. et al. In that case, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants, sellers of ready-to-drink coffee, failed to warn consumers that the coffee exposed them to a known carcinogen — acrylamide — in violation of California's Proposition 65.
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" Don't Misunderstand the Prop 65 Coffee Ruling," by Erika Schulz, George Gigounas, and Nelson Lam was published in Law360 on April 19, 2018.