Should California Put Warning Labels On Soda?
Anti-soda activists are feeling lucky these days.
In recent months there have been a series of policy battles around curbing the consumption of sugary drinks. This past election voters in Berkeley and San Francisco both decided whether to place a tax on sugar sweetened beverages. The tax passed overwhelmingly in Berkeley, and fell just short of the necessary ⅔ majority vote in San Francisco. This came in the face of massive industry spending against the measures ($3 million in Berkeley, $9.1 million in San Francisco).
Perhaps emboldened by these events, a longtime anti-soda crusader has stepped back up to the plate – earlier this month, State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced SB 203, a bill that would put warning labels on drinks with at least 75 calories per 12 ounces. The warning would read: “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
Monning has been championing anti-soda legislation for years. In 2013, he unsuccessfully fought to pass a statewide tax on sugary beverages. And in 2014, he made his first attempt at slapping warning labels on sugary drinks. The proposal narrowly passed the state Senate but died in the Assembly Committee on Health.
Each of Monning’s attempts has been strongly opposed by beverage interests such as CalBev. They argue that this current bill would cause confusion, with some drinks having to display a label but others that would seem to be sugary, such as Frappuccinos, getting a free pass.
No doubt beverage interests will be amping up their lobbying efforts to defeat this warning label measure. But at the same time, it appears that similar measures are bubbling up across the country. In New York, a similar labeling measure was proposed late last year. Health advocates are hoping that curtailment of sugary beverages will take on national momentum, similar to anti-smoking efforts.
So, what do you think? Should California put warning labels on sugary beverages? Weigh in on the debate here with voting and comments:
Should California Put Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks?
State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) has proposed legislation that would require sugary drinks like soda, sports drinks, and fruit drinks to have a prominently displayed warning label that states the health risks of drinks with added sugar.