Soda warning label bill clears committee

April 16, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy Public Health 

A California Medical Association-sponsored bill that would place safety warning labels on sodas and other sugary beverages sold in California has cleared California’s Senate Health Committee on a 5-2 vote.

The first-in-the-nation legislation (SB 1000) was introduced by State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) and would ensure that all Californians are aware of the critical scientific information linking sugary drink consumption to exploding rates of diabetes and obesity.

The bill would place a simple warning on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces. 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.

Supported by overwhelming research linking soda and sugary drink consumption to skyrocketing rates of diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, the bill now moves forward to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, before being referred for a full Senate floor vote. According to a recent field poll, 74 percent of California voters support warning labels on sugary drinks.  

Sugary drinks are also the single largest contributor of added calories in the American diet, responsible for 43 percent of the additional calories consumed over the last 30 years. Drinking just one soda a day increases an adult’s likelihood of being overweight by 27 percent and a child’s by 55 percent. Research has also shown that a soda or two a day increases the risk of diabetes by 26 percent.

“I see more and more patients losing limbs or going blind every year, and many of them drink a soda a day, unaware of just how hazardous the habit is to their health,” said Ashby Wolfe, M.D., of the California Medical Association. “Diabetes rates have skyrocketed by over 600 percent over the past generation, and liquid sugar is uniquely responsible for this epidemic. Warning labels are a vital step toward preventing a lot of trouble down the road.”

These health implications are felt most acutely by California’s communities of color, which are the largest consumers of sugary drinks.

In addition to CMA, the legislation is co-sponsored by the California Black Health Network, California Center for Public Health Advocacy and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.

Complete information on SB 1000, including fact sheets on the science linking sugary beverages to diabetes, obesity and cavities, is available at www.sodawarninglabel.org.


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