Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

News

February 15, 2014

Soda warning label proposed

Like alcohol and tobacco, soda pop and energy drinks need health-risk warning labels for consumers, according to a bill introduced in the California Legislature yesterday.

A bill introduced in the state Legislature yesterday sets up the latest tactic in the battle over soda and other sweetened drinks -- a proposal that would require a health-risk warning label on sugary drinks.

“Sugar-sweetened beverages are the single largest reason for the obesity epidemic in California,” said Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), author of SB 1000.

“For this reason, we need this bill to establish the Safety Warning Act, to provide consumers with the information they need to make informed decisions about what they’re drinking.”

The bill would require warning labels on cans and bottles of soda, energy drinks and sweetened teas -- any drinks that contain 75 or more calories in 12 ounces.

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

Monning last session authored a bill to impose a tax on soda and other high-sugar drinks. That measure, SB 622, was shelved on the Appropriations suspense file. Monning still could bring that bill back, but said he’s not focused on that now.

“We don’t abandon that as an objective but for now we want to provide notice to people about what they’re drinking,” Monning said. When he pushed for the soda tax last year, Monning pointed out the industry contended it was not a tax issue, but an education issue.

“So we’re taking them up on that,” Monning said.

Ashby Wolfe, a family practice physician in Oakland, said this is a public health issue, right alongside alcohol and tobacco use.

“As a family physician, I’m challenged daily by type 2 diabetes and heart disease,” Wolfe said. “The science on this issue is clear. Those of us entrusted with the health of community must do something …

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