California To Become The First State To Seek Warning Labels On Sugary Drinks

imagesIn accordance with a proposal announced by a state lawmaker; California would become the first state in the country to entail warning labels on sodas and other sugary drinks.

According to Dr. Harold Goldstein, of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, “Soda and other sugary drinks are the number-one source of added sugar in the American diet.”

On an average American consumes 45 gallons of soft drinks in a year. More than a third of all U.S. adults and nearly 17 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SB1000 would need the warning on the front of each beverage containers with supplementary sweeteners having 75 or more calories per 12 ounces.

The label would read: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

The bill was proposed by Democratic Sen. William Monning. There is vast research showing the link amid sugary drinks and those health troubles, said Monning. He added that the phraseology was developed by a national panel of nutrition and public health experts.

“The goal of the warning quite simply is to give consumers the right to know what well-established medical impacts from consuming these beverages are,” Monning, from Carmel, said. “We’re talking about a public health epidemic that will take more lives than gun violence.”

The bill has the patronage of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and the California Medical Association.

The legislation is also sponsored by The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and the California Black Health Network.

Business groups such as the American Beverage Association, which correspond to industry leaders such as Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc, Coca-Cola Co and PepsiCo Inc, have a track record of skirmishing off pains to fix the high-calorie beverages.

CalBev, the California arm of the Washington, D.C.-based American Beverage Association, noted that as part of its “Clear on Calories” campaign that began in 2010, the industry before now posts calorie counts on the facade of numerous beverage containers. Also, drink bottles already have comprehensive constituent lists and nutritional information.

The group said, “We agree that obesity is a serious and complex issue.” The bill was however referred to as “misleading” because it said just 6 percent of calories in the average American’s diet come from soda, fruit, sports and energy drinks, judged against 11 percent in sweets and deserts.

A 2012 report in the Journal of Health Economics shows that obesity accounts for nearly $200 billion a year in U.S. medical spending which is more than 20 percent of national healthcare costs.

Also consuming just one soda a day boosts an adult’s probability of being obese by 27 percent and a child’s by 55 percent, while a soda or two a day increases the risk of diabetes by 26 percent.
Monning assumes that these labels will definitely make a difference in consumers’ selections, predominantly when paired with other public health campaigns warning of the dangers of being overweight.

“We don’t underestimate what we’re up against,” he said.”We’re up against $100 million advertising campaigns.”

The legislation was announced in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014.