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A court recently ordered coffee businesses in California to put signs in shops or on labels to warn customers about coffee’s link to cancer.
In 2010, the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT) filed a lawsuit against coffee companies, demanding that they inform their customers about a dangerous chemical in coffee products. This chemical is known to cause cancer and is produced when coffee beans are roasted at a high temperature.
The judge who presided at the trial said that the coffee companies could not give enough and valid reasons not to put warnings inside their shops or on the labels of their products. Therefore, the court sided with the CERT, saying that the group provided unequivocal evidence that drinking coffee is harmful to people.
However, several studies disprove the CERT’s claims. Many researchers could not directly link drinking coffee to breast and prostate cancer. Even the World Health Organization’s cancer-specializing agency removed coffee from its list of possible cancer-causing products. The agency also said that drinking coffee actually has health benefits and is even believed to reduce the risks for some types of cancer.
Just as many researchers oppose the CERT’s stand, many people disagree with the idea of putting cancer warning signs in coffee shops or on products. Several critics believe that having warning signs may not work. For instance, a professor studying the impact of mass media campaigns said that people will most likely disregard the warning signs. According to another expert, the worst-case scenario is that the cancer warning signs will cause unnecessary alarm among consumers.