Coffee the Latest Target of California Prop 65 Litigants

Back to Legal Insights
Back to Legal Insights

Stoel Rives attorney Melissa Jones discussed in TechNewsWorld the decision of Dunkin' Donuts to temporarily suspend shipment of online coffee orders to California. Dunkin' Donuts, along with more than 40 other coffee companies, including Starbucks, were sued earlier this year by the Council for Education and Research on Toxics ("CERT") for alleged violations of California's Proposition 65 ("Prop 65") over their coffee sales.

Prop 65 requires companies to either remove from their products or warn consumers about trace amounts of more than 800 chemicals the state has deemed carcinogenic. The law empowers private litigants to enforce its terms, even in the absence of any showing that consumers have been harmed or exposed to any material risk. In 2002, Swedish scientists determined that acrylamide, a chemical that in large doses has been shown to cause cancer in mice, is present in coffee as well as in many other products, including baked goods and French fries.

Jones, who has extensive experience defending Prop 65 lawsuits and providing Prop 65 compliance advice to companies, said one effect of the law has been to make consumers oblivious to the warnings. "Prop 65 had good intentions, but you have consumers being overwarned, and then they disregard the warnings. In theory, the law sounds really great, but the way it's been interpreted makes it very difficult for businesses."

"Roasting in California: Dunkin' Donuts Coffee Fans Can't Order Online" was published by TechNewsWorld, October 21, 2011.

Key Contributors

Melissa A. Jones
See all contributors See less contributors
Saved Pages

Use the arrows to arrange content.  Download pages as a .pdf file or share links via email..

{{ item.Title }} {{ item.AttorneyPosition }}, {{ item.AttorneyLocation }} , C. {{ item.AttorneyCell }} , P. {{ item.AttorneyPhone }} , F. {{ item.AttorneyFax }} {{ item.TypeText }} Remove
You have no pages saved
            {{ state | json }}