California’s Soda Warning Label Bill Dies in Committee

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The Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, which would have put warning labels on soda, will not come to pass
California’s Soda Warning Label Bill Dies in Committee
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California has been one of the most persistent states when it comes to taxing, labeling, and limiting beverages.

Imagine a world where, when you bought a can of soda or a bottle of Snapple, you were faced with a prominent warning label (much like those on cigarette boxes) that said: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”  That’s exactly what would have happened if the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act were passed in California. But the bill died in committee, as it failed to garner enough votes, and health advocates expressed their disappointment.

“This really is a tragedy for California,” said Harold Goldstein, sponsor of the bill and executive director for the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. “The members of the Senate Health Committee, whose responsibility is to protect the health of Californians, chose instead to side with the beverage industry to keep scientifically-based information about the harmful effects of soda and other sugary drinks away from California consumers.”

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California Senators voted 4-1 on the issue, with four abstentions. The bill needed five “yeses” to move forward. Last year in San Francisco, a measure to tax all sugary beverages also died in committee. Bob Achermann, executive director with CalBev, called the warning labels “sensationalist.”