Soda warning label bill clears Senate

May 29, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health 

The Sugary Drink Safety Warning Act (SB 1000) has been approved by the California State Senate, moving the first-in-the-nation legislation on to the Assembly.

The bill, which is being sponsored by the California Medical Association (CMA), would place a simple warning label on the front of all bottles and cans of sugary drinks sold in California. The label, developed by a national panel of nutrition and public health experts, would read: STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.

"Friends, we face an obesity and diabetic epidemic in the United States,” Senator Bill Monning, the bill’s author, told his colleagues before Thursday’s vote. “Sugar-sweetened beverages represent the single largest contributor to the diabetes epidemic."

Scientific research shows that liquid sugar is uniquely harmful because it gets absorbed so quickly, much faster than solid food. When sugar floods the bloodstream, it overloads the pancreas and causes the liver to store the sugar as fat – which leads to fatty liver disease. Both of which contribute directly to diabetes – a disease that has tripled in the U.S. over the last 30 years. Research shows that drinking a soda or two a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by 26 percent. Two-thirds of California teenagers drink a soda or more a day, a higher proportion than ever before.

According to a recent Field Poll, 74 percent of California voters, including a majority of republicans and independents, support warning labels on sugary drinks.

In addition to the public health crisis, diabetes also takes an enormous economic toll on California, according to a recent study by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. The study shows that hospitalizing a patient with diabetes – which account for one-third of all hospitalizations in the state – costs, on average, an additional $2,200 when compared to a patient without the disease. As a result, diabetes added an estimated $1.6 billion to the costs of hospitalization in California in 2011, with nearly three-quarters of that cost being absorbed by publicly supported Medi-Cal and Medicare.

Contact: Alecia Sanchez, (916) 444-5532 or asanchez@cmadocs.org.


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