Clean Label Project Announces Lawsuits Against Five of the Largest Coffee Brands for Including Paint Stripper Ingredient in Best-Selling Decaffeinated Products

Clean Label Project Announces Lawsuits Against Five of the Largest Coffee Brands for Including Paint Stripper Ingredient in Best-Selling Decaffeinated Products

August 26, 2020
Clean Label Project (CLP) is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to bring truth and transparency to food and consumer product labeling.

DENVER, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — As a result of Clean Label Project ’s (CLP) October 2019 investigation of 24 leading coffee brands, the national nonprofit focused on truth and transparency in labeling announced today that it recently filed lawsuits against five of the largest coffee brands for including the active ingredient in paint stripper, methylene chloride, in decaffeinated coffee products. The lawsuits were filed by Davitt, Lalley, Dey, & McHale on behalf of CLP in D.C. Superior Court against AmazonFresh, LLC, J.M. Smuckers’ Café Bustelo, Peet’s Coffee & Tea Holdco Inc., Keurig Green Mountain, Inc. and KraftHeinz Maxwell House.

According to the lawsuits, defendants engaged in false and/or deceptive labeling, marketing and sale of decaffeinated coffee products. Some products were labeled as “Pure” but testing by an independent lab revealed quantifiable amounts of the toxic chemical methylene chloride.

In 2019, the Environmental Protection Agency banned methylene chloride’s use in consumer paint stripping products after linking the chemical to cancers, cognitive impairment, asphyxiation and liver, kidney and reproductive toxicity. CLP’s findings are disturbing because decaffeinated coffee drinkers are typically vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, seniors or people with cardiovascular, gastrointestinal or other health issues.

“Consumers have a right to know what they’re purchasing and ingesting and be able to trust claims made on product packaging,” said Jaclyn Bowen, MPH, MS, Clean Label Project Executive Director. “Methylene chloride’s presence results from its use as the main solvent in their decaffeination process, but these companies could instead choose 100% chemical-free decaffeination processes, such as the certified organic approved processes, carbon dioxide, or Swiss water method.”

About Clean Label Project
Colorado-based Clean Label Project (CLP) is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to bring truth and transparency to food and consumer product labeling. CLP is committed to changing the definition of food and consumer safety through the use of data, science, and transparency. By sharing the results of scientific data directly with consumers, it seeks to assist the public in making the most informed choice possible each time they shop.

Clean Label Project
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