LOS ANGELES (AP) — Coffee sellers in California should have to post warnings because the brew may contain an ingredient that’s been linked to cancer, a judge has ruled.

The culprit is a chemical produced in the bean roasting process that is a known carcinogen and has been at the heart of an eight-year legal struggle between a tiny nonprofit group and Big Coffee.

The Council for Education and Research on Toxics wanted the coffee industry to remove acrylamide from its processing — like potato chip makers did when it sued them years ago — or disclose the danger in ominous warning signs or labels. The industry, led by Starbucks Corp., said the level of the chemical in coffee isn’t harmful and any risks are outweighed by benefits.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle said Wednesday that the coffee makers hadn’t presented the proper grounds at trial to prevail.

“While plaintiff offered evidence that consumption of coffee increases the risk of harm to the fetus, to infants, to children and to adults, defendants’ medical and epidemiology experts testified that they had no opinion on causation,” Berle wrote in his proposed ruling. “Defendants failed to satisfy their burden of proving … that consumption of coffee confers a benefit to human health.”

The suit was brought against Starbucks and 90 companies under a law passed by California voters in 1986 that has been credited with culling cancer-causing chemicals from myriad products and also criticized for leading to quick settlement shakedowns.

The Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act, better known as Proposition 65, requires warning labels for about 900 chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects. It allows private citizens, advocacy groups and attorneys to sue on behalf of the state and collect a portion of civil penalties for failure to provide warnings.

“This lawsuit has made a mockery of Prop. 65, has confused consumers, and does nothing to improve public health,” said William Murray, president and CEO of the National Coffee Association, who added that coffee had been shown to be a healthy beverage.

Scientific evidence on coffee has gone back and forth for a long time, but concerns have eased recently about possible dangers of coffee, with some studies finding health benefits.

In 2016, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization moved coffee off its “possible carcinogen” list.

Studies indicate coffee is unlikely to cause breast, prostate or pancreatic cancer, and it seems to lower the risks for liver and uterine cancers, the agency said. Evidence is inadequate to determine its effect on dozens of other cancer types.

Coffee companies have said it’s not feasible to remove acrylamide from their product without ruining the flavor.

But attorney Raphael Metzger, who brought the lawsuit and drinks a few cups of coffee a day, said the industry could remove the chemical without impairing taste.

“I firmly believe if the potato chip industry can do it, so can the coffee industry,” Metzger said. “A warning won’t be that effective because it’s an addictive product.”

Many coffee shops have already posted warnings that say acrylamide is cancer-causing chemical found in coffee. But signs that are supposed to be posted at the point of sale are often found in places not easily visible, such as below the counter where cream and sugar are available.

Customers at shops that post warnings are often unaware or unconcerned about them.

Afternoon coffee drinkers at a Los Angeles Starbucks said they might look into the warning or give coffee drinking a second thought after the ruling, but the cup of joe was likely to win out.

“I just don’t think it would stop me,” said Jen Bitterman, a digital marketing technologist. “I love the taste, I love the ritual, I love the high, the energy, and I think I’m addicted to it.”

Darlington Ibekwe, a lawyer in Los Angeles, said a cancer warning would be annoying but wouldn’t stop him from treating himself to three lattes a week.

“It’s like cigarettes. Like, damn, now I’ve got to see this?” he said. “Dude, I’m enjoying my coffee.”

The defendants have a couple weeks to challenge the ruling before it is final and could seek relief from an appellate court.

If the ruling stands, it could come with a stiff financial penalty and could rattle consumers beyond state lines.

The judge can set another phase of trial to consider potential civil penalties up to $2,500 per person exposed each day over eight years. That could be an astronomical sum in a state with close to 40 million residents, though such a massive fine is unlikely.

California’s outsized market could make it difficult to tailor packaging with warning labels specifically to stores in the state.

That means out-of-state coffee drinkers could also take their coffee with a cancer warning. Cream and sugar would still be optional.


Associated Press writer Amanda Lee Myers in Los Angeles and AP Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione in Milwaukee contributed to this story.

EstrellaTV, the fastest growing, minority owned Spanish- language TV network in the U.S. announced that it has revamped and updated its popular morning show ‘Buenos Días Familia.’

Starting Monday, March 26, 2018, 8AM-10AM/ 7AM-9AM C, ‘Buenos Días Familia’ will have a fresh and renewed look, and a new two hour duration, as EstrellaTV shakes things up and reformats its morning program with a new set design and new talent. ‘Buenos Dias Familia’ is a fast paced, two-hour morning show featuring current newsworthy events, celebrity interviews, human-interest stories and the latest entertainment news.

The reformatted version of the show is comprised of three new hosts that include Venezuelan actor Yul Bürkle, Colombian actress Luz Estrada, and Mexican-American actress/model Maria Elena Anaya. The show will also feature collaborators such as Mexican TV/Radio personality Said Garcia for entertainment news and EstrellaTV news anchor Jennifer Montoya, who will deliver news updates in special segments throughout the show.

To kick off the launch of the new show, helmed by showrunner Ruben Consuegra, ‘Buenos Dias Familia’ will have as special guests the celebrity judges of EstrellaTV’s talent show competition “Tengo Talento, Mucho Talento” Pepe Garza, Ana Barbara, Joss Favela and Don Cheto, as well as a performance by music superstar Christian Nodal. Other special guests in the first few weeks include Mexican superstar Alicia Villarreal and musical group La Séptima Banda.

The revamped show will feature a newly redesigned set, in-studio interviews with the hottest international stars and influencers in film, television, music and social media, as well as musical performances by some of today’s hottest Latin music acts. ‘Buenos Dias Familia’ will also include new segments in a variety of topics that range from beauty tips, health and family wellness, entertainment news, and fashion, to Hollywood gossip, latest movie releases, community advocacy, in-studio musical performances, and fun and entertaining games with the show’s hosts.

Guest appearances will vary from celebrities to community leaders, government officials, experts in health, legal affairs, immigration and other inspirational community leaders from across the U.S. The new and improved ‘Buenos Dias Familia’ will also feature correspondents from around the U.S. and Latin America.

‘Buenos Dias Familia’ airs nationally Monday through Friday from 8AM to 10AM/ 7AM-9AM C on EstrellaTV Network.