published on November 4, 2019 - 12:24 PM
Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.

If there weren’t enough things to worry about these days, how about one more?

Acrylamide is present in the cooked food you eat.

Now before you toss out all of your leftovers, the chemical acrylamide isn’t added to food products. It forms naturally in many types of foods (baked goods, breakfast cereal, coffee, grilled asparagus, French fries, potato chips, as examples) when cooked at high heat.

It has been present in food as long as humans have cooked it, but according to the California Chamber, it was only discovered to be present in food in 2002.

The reason the CalChamber is concerned with acrylamide in the first place is because it is among the chemicals that fall under the Proposition 65 warnings for causing cancer. The problem is that no governmental agency has ever determined that acrylamide is a known human carcinogen.

That’s the argument CalChamber is making in a lawsuit against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who is responsible for enforcing Proposition 65. The result has been lawsuits from the state and private enforcers against small businesses that produce, distribute or sell food products containing acrylamide.

“The effect of too many bogus warnings is no warnings,” said CalChamber President and CEO Allan Zaremberg. “This case is about clarifying for both businesses and consumers that food does not require Proposition 65 warnings for acrylamide. This will reduce unnecessary fear for consumers and litigation threats for businesses.”

The result has been businesses choosing to settle legal challenges instead of facing the uncertainty of litigation. That does nothing to keep Californians safe, and everything to cement our state as among the most business unfriendly in the nation.

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