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By Kendall Powell July 17, 2: So the nation got a jolt after a California judge made a final ruling in May that Starbucks and other coffee sellers must inform customers about carcinogenic chemicals in their brews. The ruling stemmed from a court case invoking Proposition 65, a state law that requires warnings if products or places contain certain types of hazardous chemicals.
But the implications reach far beyond the Golden State. California has the sixth-largest economy in the world, so manufacturers of consumer goods worldwide try to abide by Prop. Why will there be signs next to Starbucks registers warning that coffee contains chemicals that cause cancer and birth defects?
The judge made a final ruling May 7. The law applies because roasted coffee beans — and beverages brewed from them — contain acrylamide, which is on Prop. In Aprilan organization called the Council for Education and Research on Toxics CERTwhich is located at the same address as the Long Beach law firm that represented it and that specializes in litigating such cases, sued about companies, including Starbucks Corp.
The Los Angeles judge ruled that companies failed to demonstrate that the health benefits of coffee outweighed the risks posed by acrylamide, which include cancer and developmental and reproductive harm. What does a Prop. Up till now, generally words along the lines of: It set the level for reproductive risk at micrograms per day.
Proposition 65 warnings, like this one at Disneyland, have generally been very vague. New laws will require that the warnings name specific chemicals and their sources.
Coughlin has consulted for the National Coffee Association and Starbucks in the past but is not currently working for any companies in the California court case.
Acrylamide forms when bread is toasted and the amino acid asparagine reacts with sugars at high heat. That swirl of chemicals gives coffee its complex tastes and aromas. What is the evidence that acrylamide causes cancer or reproductive harm? Acrylamide is used in industry and research to make polymers and is a neurotoxin at very high doses.
For cancer studies in andresearchers fed rats high doses of acrylamide in their drinking water throughout their two-year lifetime. The highest doses increased rates of thyroid, testicular and breast tumors. In male rats, the rate of thyroid tumors rose from 6 percent in rats fed no acrylamide to 25 percent in those fed the highest dose, for example.
In females, the rate of a breast tumor rose from 33 percent without acrylamide to 65 percent for the highest dose.
The NTP also assessed for reproductive harm in and found that while acrylamide causes slight increases in the incidence of low birth weight and less effective sperm in mice and rats fed high doses, there was no evidence that acrylamide exposure in people results in adverse reproductive effects.
But experts say that the carcinogenicity of acrylamide in people is still up for debate. For one thing, says Coughlin, doses fed to rodents in these studies were extremely high — the equivalent of a pound person drinking 11, toeight-ounce cups of coffee per day.
For another, population studies of workplace exposure to acrylamide have not found dose-related increases in any specific cancer or in overall cancer mortality. An analysis of 25 epidemiology studies, encompassing 39, people, found no increased risk for 15 types of cancer when comparing people with average dietary intakes of acrylamide to those with daily intakes 10 micrograms higher the amount in five eight-ounce cups of coffee.
The authors concluded that dietary levels of acrylamide do not pose an increased risk of most types of cancer. How do chemicals get on the Prop. It only takes one agency to spark a listing; in the case of acrylamide, all five agencies list it as a probable human carcinogen. A chemical may also be added if the California Labor Code deems it a cancer or reproductive risk, or if another agency requires a label.
And it can be added if California-appointed State Qualified Experts — committees of researchers who specialize in cancer or developmental and reproductive biology — review the science and declare a chemical harmful by a majority vote. It bothers him that even if committees have reviewed a chemical and deemed it safe, another agency can override that work.
Are chemicals ever taken off the list? Several have been delisted after studies showed them not to be carcinogens or reproductive toxins. A reassessment can be triggered by State Qualified Experts, a state agency or petition by a member of the public.
One notable case is the artificial sweetener saccharin, which was listed as a carcinogen in because it caused bladder cancer in rodent studies, and was delisted in Decades of research showed that the way saccharin caused bladder cancer in male rats was not possible in humans.
Why are items listed when they might not be harmful to people? And the regulation, she adds, forces industry to innovate to find ways to remove or reduce harmful chemicals. The Food and Drug Administration, the European Food Safety Authority and Health Canada have all ruled coffee safe to drink, except for pregnant women, who should limit their intake.
Coughlin says that roasted coffee beans or their grounds contain about micrograms of acrylamide per kilogram, but brewed coffee contains only about 10 to 30 — a tiny dose compared to eating french fries or potato chips, which can contain acrylamide in the thousands of micrograms.
Acrylamide reacts with other proteins in the body as soon as it is absorbed, Coughlin adds, and is also detoxified by an enzyme called glutathione transferase.OSCM_Harvard Business Case_Benihana Benihana of Tokyo 7/28/ 5 1 Deeply mistrustful of exotic foods 2 Enjoyed watching their foods being prepared 3 is reflected on its chosen business model Customer Segment • Business travellers • Leisure customers Value Proposition • Theatre of Stomach • Japan historical authenticity iridis-photo-restoration.com /oscmharvard-business-casebenihana.
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