British Coffee Association - World Health Organisation clarification on coffee and health
World Health Organisation clarification on coffee and health

World Health Organisation clarification on coffee and health

The British Coffee Association (BCA) has welcomed the World Health Organisation’s confirmation that there is no discernible link[i] between coffee and cancer.

This study follows one last year by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)[ii] on caffeine consumption.  That concluded up to five cups of coffee a day does not give rise to health concerns for most people.  For pregnant women it concluded 2-3 cups of coffee should not cause concern.

In fact, there are many things you might not know about coffee and health:

  1. Scientists say coffee may have health benefits such as improving alertness, sports performance, hydration levels and heart health[iii]
  2. There is strong evidence that coffee has a protective effect against some cancers. The World Cancer Research Fund says drinking coffee could reduce the risk of womb (endometrial) and liver cancer[iv] 
  3. Research has shown coffee may help reduce the risks of heart disease, strokes (in women), Parkinson disease and Alzheimer’s disease[v]
  4. Research has shown people who drink coffee regularly have significantly lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes[vi]
  5. The British Liver Trust, the UK's leading adult liver charity, will be running fundraising Coffee Break events as the centrepiece of its "Love your liver" week this coming 20-26 June.  Details here

Kristine Breminer Isgren, chair of the BCA, said: “Coffee is one of the most heavily researched products in the world.  It is great news for the millions of coffee lovers that the World Health Organisation has provided that reassurance.  It follows other strong evidence that coffee may have a protective effect against some cancers.”

The recent study was conducted by scientists at the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).  Their conclusions are based on an extensive body of scientific studies over the past 20 years into the health properties of coffee.  This was the first such review since 1991 to look at and draw conclusions from the whole body of scientific opinion around the world.


For more information: contact the BCA on 0330 202 0879 -

·         For interviews, Chris Stemman, incoming BCA Exec Director and Chairman of its Technical & Regulatory committee, is available

·         The British Coffee Association:

About the BCA

The BCA represents UK coffee in fostering a favourable environment for all aspects of the coffee industry and its culture to thrive.  It does this by representingcoffee and the industry to regulators, politicians, media and the public. This includes representing the industry on technical issues to regulators and governments.



[i] The WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer has categorised coffee as “not classifiable as to its carcinogenicity to humans”.

[ii] The European Food Safety Authority, 2015, concluded that moderate consumption of coffee (3-5 cups a day) has been associated with a range of desirable physiological effects in the scientific literature and can fit within a healthy, balanced diet and an active lifestyle: