California would become the first US state to mandate warning labels on sugary nonalcoholic beverages under a bill approved in the California Senate on Thursday.
SB 1000 passed by a 21-13 vote (on party lines, as only Democrats voted in favor) and will now head to the Assembly for consideration. The Senate Appropriations Committee brought it back to the table last week after it had been moved to a suspense file given concerns about the cost of implementation.
The bill would would place the following warning on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.” It is expected to cost the state $400,000 per year and would impact hundreds of beverages like fruit juices, teas, soy/almond/rice milks while exempting beverages with animal milk.
“Consumers have a right to know about the adverse health effects of frequent sugary drink consumption,” said Sen. Bill Monning, who introduced the bill in April. (Read the text here .) “SB 1000 does exactly what the beverage industry has long said we should do – educate the public – and this is the appropriate public health response to the scientifically proven risks that liquid sugar poses to the public’s health. The bill is a common sense measure that is overwhelmingly supported by the public.”