Lawsuit Demands Restaurants Warn Customers Their Food May Be Cooked

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Guess what?  It’s a California story.

Some of you may know about California’s "Proposition 65," passed by the voters in 1986 and intended to help consumers by requiring warnings of any known exposure to a variety of chemicals that the state has put on a list.  In practice, it may have done more to help lawyers than consumers, because it allows a lawsuit whenever a warning isn’t posted even if there is only a very small chance of exposure.  The result being that the same warning appears all over the place, and is roundly ignored by everybody.

Except for those who sue or get sued.  This case is a good example.  Chemicals called "heterocyclic amines" are on the list.  This stuff forms when you cook meat.  Not bad meat, any meat.  And since the stuff is in there, Prop 65 says you have to warn about it.  And so a group called the "Physicians’ Committee for Responsible Medicine," which may or may not have any physicians in it, and may or may not be responsible, recently sued McDonald’s, Burger King, and Outback Steakhouse, among others, saying they had not warned their customers that they cook meat.

Also, the National Cancer Institute, which may or may not know something about cancer (okay, it does), says that while HCAs may have some association with cancer, there is currently no way to know how much, and the NCI cited one study that found cooking meat at home was more dangerous than eating at fast-food restaurants.  Admit it — you don’t have a warning posted in your kitchen, do you?  If not, and if you cook any meat there, please email me and I will give you my address so you can send me a hefty fine.

Link: American Council on Science and Health
Link: Prop 65 News Online