journal.: Dear Judge Elihu Berle, I Call Fake News, Bull Coffee Crap and California’s Ruling Enough

what you say?



Chèrmelle at Alibi Coffee


A ruling from a Los Angeles County Superior Judge Elihu Berle, on March 28th said carcinogen known as acrylamide in coffee, developed once a coffee bean is roasted should warrant California coffee companies to print a label on their products warning consumers that coffee could cause cancer.  I call you know what.

“The long-running lawsuit, first filed in 2010, concerns whether coffee drinkers should be warned about acrylamide, which is among the more than 850 confirmed or suspected carcinogens listed under California’s Proposition 65.” Los Angeles Times

Coffee? Causing cancer. No.

Cigarettes causing cancer? Yes.

Microwaves causing cancer? Yes.

Coffee? No.

Obviously, I’m a biased coffee drinker, just look at the name of this webzine. And obviously when one loves somethings, such as I do, and its coffee, no one wants to hear that what they love is harmful.  Am I dangerously in love with coffee, yes, depending on whose calling it dangerous, even carcinogenic?

The judge ruled that the coffee companies failed to meet the burden of proof to show that coffee caused no harm.

What harm?  As defined by NCA, “Acrylamide has been formed naturally during the “browning” process in foods and beverages, and so has been present since people began cooking with fire.”

Imagine, the more browning of a coffee or a food or a beverage, the idea is that acrylamide could form at very high doses. And when such high doses  occurred with rats – and remember, while tests are great, us humans still aren’t them – acrylamide had a higher risk of developing certain cancers.

But what about coffee that isn’t roasted to browning levels where acrylamide could naturally form and/or in high doses? Should this warming happen just in the state of California? Are California coffee roasters the only ones roasting coffee?  What about the art of roasting from specialty coffee companies where roasting coffee to degrees of lighter levels is characteristic of coffee in the specialty sector? Would such coffee reach the browning levels of major commodity coffee brands that create a consistent product the world over – not just  in California by over roasting, even charring the bean.

How about we just put a warning label on some other human activities that are part of peoples lifestyle; microwaves which are used to pop popcorn – the fumes released from artificial butter flavoring contain diacetyl, which is toxic to humans, the season of summertime barbecuing for all those grilling red meat – releases a carcinogen called heterocyclic aromatic amines.  Or how about every market aisle that’s stocks myriads of canned goods which are lined with a product called bisphenol-A (BPA), known to alter the brain cells of rats. See more here.

Is coffee carcinogenic?  The evidence says no and points to it.

“On June 15, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluded that it can no longer classify coffee as a “possible carcinogen.” In fact, coffee may have protective powers against liver and endometrial cancer (see the full NCA news release).”  National Coffee Blog

This was just two years ago. And now, a judge is trying to take acrylamide and use it against the World Health Organizations own finding. What should we as coffee drinkers know about acrylamide?

  1. We should know this: “The justification is that acrylamide, which is found in roasted coffee beans, has been linked to cancer in rats. Relatively small amounts of acrylamide is common in many food items besides coffee. The levels that cause cancer in rats are much higher than those consumed through coffee and diet in general.” NCA
  2. And, we should know this: “Coffee has hundreds of compounds with potential bioactive effects. Many of these have potentially beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidation and anti-cancer.” NCA
  3. And we should know this: The American Institute for Cancer Research recently added coffee to its list of Foods That Fight Cancer.) These include Liver, Oral, Skin, Brain, Prostate and Endometrial Cancers.”  Coffee And Me
  4. And we should know this: “[The decision] is really unfortunate because most of the human studies published so far have failed to find links between acrylamide and different types of cancer,” noted Dr. Walter Willett, also from the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard Chan School of Public Health. “We have looked at coffee, acrylamide intake, and acrylamide blood levels, and there is no hint of increased cancer risk, and in fact, we have only found health benefits of coffee per se.” Harvard School of Public Health

Can coffee be anti-cancer and pro-cancer at the same time? I call you know what. What do you call this dichotomy?

Here’s a couple statements from some voices in the coffee industry that leave me fully confident to continue my lifestyle and life enjoyment as a coffee drinker. I hope it can do the same for you, however, the decision still remains yours as does grilling in the summer, buying canned goods and eating microwave popcron.

Statements from the:  NCA , AICR and the SCA.  

I call coffee time.