NAMA Hails California’s Exemption Of Coffee From ‘Prop 16’ Warning

Posted On: 6/6/2019

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CHICAGO -- The National Automatic Merchandising Association reports that California state regulators have approved a new rule that formally exempts coffee from Proposition 65 warning requirements.

Proposition 65 requires that a warning label be placed on any product sold in California that contains substances linked with cancer or reproductive harm, however minuscule the concentration or the lack of evidence of harm. Acrylamide is such a compound, and it’s found in roasted coffee beans and beverages brewed from them. California therefore had required “Prop 65” warnings on all coffee sold in the state, including beverages delivered by vending, office coffee and micromarket services.

NAMA led industry support for exempting coffee from that rule. In June 2018, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment proposed to declare that drinking coffee does not pose a significant cancer risk, notwithstanding the presence of acrylamide. That determination effectively exempts coffee from the “Prop 65” warning requirements. 

Robert Donohue of Canteen Corp. (Sacramento), who chairs the Government Affairs committee of the California Automatic Vending Council, testified in the state capital that the convenience services industry supported OEHHA’s proposal to exempt coffee from “Prop 65.” CAVC is a state council of the National Automatic Merchandising Association.

NAMA pointed out that the approval of the new regulation is a major victory for coffee purveyors, including the convenience services industry. Director of Federal and State Affairs Mike Goscinski reported that OEHHA approved this clarifying section on June 5, 2019.

In the wake of the OEHHA determination, Investor’s Business Daily featured an op-ed article co-authored by NAMA board member Tom Steuber, Associated Services (San Leandro, CA) and association chief executive Carla Balakgie. The opinion-piece, titled “What’s Brewing in the Golden State,” conveyed the industry’s support for the revision.