Beware Calif.’s Proposition 65

Law360, New York (July 19, 2011, 5:51 PM EDT) -- Customers of Starbucks in California are now confronted with a sign that begins: “PROPOSITION 65 WARNING.” The lengthy warning that follows begins: “Chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and reproductive toxicity, including acrylamide, are present in coffee, baked goods and other food and beverages sold here.”

With such an ominous warning, many consumers may wonder, has the government decided that coffee and pastries are unsafe? The answer, thankfully, is no. This warning, arguably required under California’s Proposition 65 (codified in California Health...
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