Coffee: life-giver, day-starter, conversation-lubricant… cancer risk?
Don’t pour out your cup of joe just yet.
A California judge has ruled that coffee companies must display a warning that this morning pick-me-up carries a cancer risk. The ruling, levied against 91 coffee companies, specifically concerns a chemical called acrylamide. Acrylamide is, indeed, found in all coffees. It’s also used in industrial processes, like making plastic or paper, and can be found in cigarette smoke. According to the American Cancer Society, lab-based studies have found that acrylamide increases rodents’ risk for several types of cancer when given doses in their drinking water.
But that’s hardly justification for making people afraid of their lattes. Acrylamide is not just found in coffee; it’s found in lots of other foods, from toast to french fries to baked goods. That’s because the chemical is produced naturally when starches in foods are subjected to high temperatures (above 250 degrees Fahrenheit, or 121 degrees Celsius). The same process (it’s called the Maillard reaction, FYI) that produces acrylamide is the same one that gives roasted, toasted or baked foods their distinctive brown crust and warm flavor. Mmm, acrylamide.
A 2013 study found that roasted coffee contains an average of 179 micrograms per kilogram (µg/kg), or about .45 µg per cup. For a comparison, another study found that a slice of toasted wheat bread could contain between 11 and 161 µg/kg acrylamide, while a slice of toasted rye bread could have 27 to 205 µg/kg of the chemical. Potato products, in particular potato chips, can have much higher levels— some chips can reach nearly 3900 µg/kg. (Keep in mind that because this measure is by weight, so an individual chip will still have very little of the chemical. Whew.)
The decision to single out coffee, therefore, seems rather arbitrary.
What’s more, in the few animal studies linking this chemical to cancer risk, rats and mice consumed way more than humans normally would get from their food — between 1,000 to 10,000 times more. The American Cancer Society reports that, since acrylamide was discovered in foods in 2002, dozens of studies in people have examined whether eating this chemical in food is associated with any increased cancer risk. And most cancers don’t seem to have any causal relationship with the chemical. There have been some mixed results related to kidney, endometrial, and ovarian cancer, but nothing so straightforward as an eat-this-then-boom-cancer relationship.
In short, as we’ve pointed out before, it’s unscientific and unrealistic to say a specific food causes cancer. The most reliable, proven research indicates that cancer is caused by a multitude of factors, including your genetics and your environment throughout your life.
Requiring that coffee companies put a cancer warning on their product will just contribute to unwarranted paranoia about what we eat. Too much coffee makes us anxious enough as it is.
Japanese power tools manufacturer Makita has released a new rugged coffee maker that runs on battery power. The CM501DZ uses the same lithium ion battery packs as various Makita tools; the company says the largest 18V BL1860 battery is good for brewing about 640ml, or 5.3 cups.
Makita released its first cordless coffee maker a few years ago, and naturally now also sells various flavors of coffee pods for the machines. You can, however, use them with regular ground coffee, in case you want to brew artisanal blends in the middle of nowhere.
The Asahi Shimbun says Makita expects the new model to be popular with construction workers on building sites. I expect it to be popular with me on my apartment’s roof. It’s out now in Japan for…
Adam Brotman has joined the apparel retailer as president and chief experience officer.
Adam Brotman, a longtime Starbucks executive who helped mold the Seattle coffee giant into one of the most technologically advanced retailers, is leaving the company after nine years for a top role at J.Crew.
Brotman will join J.Crew as president and chief experience officer and report to new CEO Jim Brett, who replaced legendary chief executive Mickey Drexler this summer.
He also led the teams that developed the original payment feature inside the Starbucks app. Starbucks said last year that 30 percent of in-store transactions are completed via mobile payments.
“Adam’s experience with global field operations and cutting-edge consumer-facing digital platforms makes him an invaluable partner in shaping and driving J.Crew Group’s strategic initiatives to the next level,” J.Crew’s CEO said in a statement. “Adam will help us establish customer relationships that leverage all our channels, helping us to serve them in ways that are more meaningful and relevant to how they shop and live.”
Brotman will join an executive team attempting to lead a turnaround of the classic American clothing giant that has seen sales slide as customers opt for less expensive clothes from fast-fashion retailers and shift loyalty to clothing brands that originated online.
Version 4.5 of Starbucks for iOS and Android offers bug fixes, an brand new Stores experience, and more.
According to a tweet by Starbucks’ Principal digital product designer Jason Stoff, version 4.5 of Starbucks for iOS and Android is rolling out today and features updates to the Stores and Order sections of the app as well as “tons of bug fixes.”
Now, when users are choosing a nearby store to pick up their order from, a map will appear, allowing them to see the store’s location relative to wherever they currently are. The Stores section now also boasts improved search and filter functions, making it easier to plan your visit or place a mobile order. For instance, if you know you’ve got your heart set on some Nitro Cold Brew, you can set parameters in order to limit your search exclusively to stores that offer it.
In addition, the company also improved the Order section of the app, making it so browsing the food and drink menus is more fluid and user-friendly. You can view featured beverages and snacks, as well as see what items are out of stock where so you can make sure you can get your hands on the chocolate croissant you’ve been craving all day. You can also add items you frequently order to a Favorites menu so you can get your usual even faster.
If you’re looking to make your coffee runs a little less stressful but don’t yet have the Starbucks app, you can download it by clicking the link below. Though you don’t have to have a Starbucks Rewards membership to order ahead, you can access more features (such as earning stars) if you do have an account. You can create one for free via the app or by going to the Starbucks website.
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By Liz Clayton This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter, reviews for the real world. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, it may earn affiliate commissions that support its work. Read the full articl… Engadget RSS Feed
According to the International Coffee Organization, Finland has the highest coffee consumption per person (our neighbors Norway, Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden are also in the top 10) and our Helsinki office housing many engineers and data scientists is no exception. It practically runs on coffee and we take it very seriously. We drink a lot, around seven cups per person per day to be precise and we are pretty fussy about our coffee being at its very best in terms of optimum brew time and temperature. Our coffee supply had never been an issue until we moved to new premises…