California Dem wants to ban most common decaf coffee method

3 Min Read

A proposed California law would ban the most common method used to make decaffeinated coffee.

The method involves methylene chloride, an organic compound often used to remove caffeine from coffee. Methylene chloride is a known carcinogen, according to OSHA, and exposure to the compound in its raw form can harm the eyes, skin, heart and liver.

Assembly Bill 2066, authored by Assemblymember Eloise Gómez Reyes, D-District 50, would criminalize those who make or sell decaf coffee made with the compound. Violators could receive a $5,000 fine on first offense and a $10,000 fine on the second.

In an analysis of the bill, the author noted coffee prepared this way presents a particular risk for “pregnant people” as they are more likely to drink decaf for safety reasons. AB 2066 is currently with the state’s Assembly Judiciary Committee and if ultimately signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, the law would take effect in Jan. 2027.

National Coffee Association (NCA) President and CEO Bill Murray ridiculed the bill Tuesday, arguing consumers should not be warned of “health risks that do not exist.”

READ MORE | Doritos, Hot Cheetos could be banned from California schools under Dem-backed bill

“The fact is that decades of independent scientific evidence demonstrate that drinking European Method decaf, like all coffee, is associated with reduced risk of multiple cancers and chronic diseases,” Murray claimed.

In March, Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, proposed AB 2316, a measure that would prevent schools from serving foods with six synthetic food dyes. These dyes, the assemblymember said in a press release, have been linked to “cancer, harm to the immune system and neurobehavioral issues.”

Other U.S. states are making similar moves. A proposed Illinois bill would ban products that contain chemicals like Red 3 and potassium bromate. Impending law in New York will prohibit retailers from selling protein powders, drinks and food which contain ingredients constituting weight-loss or muscle-building dietary supplements to individuals under 18.

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