Bill MurrayBill Murray

Former Public Relations Society of America CEO Bill Murray is leading pushback against a California judge’s preliminary decision on March 28 that requires coffee shops to post warnings about possible links between coffee drinking and cancer.

The nonprofit Council for Education and Research on Toxins argued that acrylamide, which is formed when beans are roasted, is a health risk.

The California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act (Proposition 65) requires businesses to give customers a “clear and reasonable warning” about high levels of acrylamide.

Murray, who left PRSA in 2014 to helm the National Coffee Assn., said in a statement that the lawsuit made a mockery of Prop 65, confused consumers and does nothing to improve the public health.

He told O’Dwyer’s that NCA, which reps the $225B coffee industry, is not using an outside firm to deal with the California situation.

According to a NCA fact sheet, acrylamide naturally forms in foods as a by-product of the browning process.

The compound is found in hundreds of foods, including bread and vegetables. “Natural dietary acrylamide in minute amounts in foods like coffee does not have an effect on human beings,” says the NCA.

The NYC-based trade group maintains that multiple studies have provided evidence of the health benefits of drinking coffee, including longevity.

The US dietary guidelines say coffee can be a part of a healthy lifestyle, while the World Health Organization has said that coffee does not cause cancer.