SACRAMENTO, CA -- The nation's first legislation requiring safety warning labels on sugary drinks sold was introduced on Feb. 13 in California by state Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel).
The legislation would place a warning on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories per 12 fl.oz. The label, developed by a national panel of nutrition and public health experts, would read: STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
"When the science is this conclusive, the state of California has a responsibility to take steps to protect consumers," stated Monning. "As with tobacco and alcohol warnings, this legislation will give Californians essential information they need to make healthier choices."
Research cited to back the legislation points to sugary drinks as the biggest contributor of added calories in the American diet, responsible for 43% of the added calories over the past 30 years. Drinking just one soda a day reportedly increases an adult's likelihood of being overweight by 27% and a child's by 55%, and a soda or two a day increases the risk of diabetes by 26%, according to the bill's supporters.
"An overwhelming body of research has unequivocally shown that sugary drinks are major contributors to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay," said Dr. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which is sponsoring the legislation. "These diseases cost California billions of dollars in health care and lost productivity every year. When any product causes this much harm, it is time to take action."
The California Medical Association and the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and the California Black Health are also sponsoring the legislation.