Acrylamide is an industrial carcinogen which, in recent years, has unfortunately been recognized as a substantial constituent of many foods we eat. In 2002, Swedish researchers published an important study showing that potatoes and certain other foods heated at high temperatures contain very high levels of acrylamide. The highest levels of the carcinogen were found in french fries and potato chips, but high levels of acrylamide have also been found in cereals, breads, and coffee. Subsequent research established that acrylamide was formed by a chemical process known as the Maillard reaction in which asparagine, a common constituent of many foods, when being heated at high temperatures, produces acrylamide.
In 2002, the Metzger Law Group, on behalf of the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT), brought the first Proposition 65 case to require fast food companies such as McDonald’s and Burger King to warn consumers of the acrylamide hazard in french fries. Eventually the California Attorney General joined the suit and the Metzger Law Group co-litigated the case with the Attorney General. As a result of this lawsuit, fast food companies in California now give consumers such cancer hazard warnings regarding acrylamide in french fries. The lawsuit also prompted potato chip manufacturers such as Frito Lay to improve their production process to reduce the acrylamide content of their potato chips to safe levels.
In 2010, the Metzger Law Group filed suit, again on behalf of the Council for Education and Research on Toxics (CERT), against ready-to-drink coffee companies to require them to give consumers cancer hazard warnings regarding acrylamide in coffee or to reduce the acrylamide content of their coffee products to safe levels.
The Metzger Law Group is concerned that this carcinogen is in so many foods that we eat and is seriously undertaking efforts to require food companies to reduce the acrylamide content of their food products or, if they cannot do so, to warn California consumers that this carcinogen is present in the foods that they sell.