California soda warning bill dies in committee

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

California soda warning bill dies in committee

Related tags: Sugar-sweetened beverages, Nutrition

A bill proposing warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages that would alert shoppers in California to the risk of diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay, has died in the committee stage.

The 2015 California Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act SB203​ - first introduced by Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning in 2014 as SB1000 – fell short in a vote at the Senate Health Committee, with four senators voting for the bill, one voting against the move, and four abstentions.

The bill – which would require sugary drinks to carry the health warning ‘Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay​’ – has been strongly criticized by beverage association CalBev, which recently observed​ that: “If consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is going down and diabetes is going up, then how are soda and other sweetened beverages driving the problem?” 

However, supporters of the bill - which has the backing of the American Diabetes Association - argue that drastic measures are needed given the scale of the obesity and diabetes epidemic, with the Center for Science in the Public Interest recently noting that: “Soda and sugar drinks promote expensive and debilitating diseases, but unlike most other foods or beverages, have no redeeming nutritional qualities.”

The pressure on the food and beverage industry to cut added sugar has ratcheted up in recent months, with the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) advising​ ​"dramatically​ reducing the intake of sugar-sweetened beverages", ​which it claimed were "consistently associated with increased risk of type 2 diabetes"; the FDA proposing​ that firms must list added sugars on the Nutrition Facts panel, and the World Health Organization​ arguing the added sugars should account for less than 10% of energy intakes - and ideally less than 5%.

soda warning mock label

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