California soda drinkers be prepared; you may start seeing a warning label on your drink causing you to think twice before consuming your overly sugary beverage if lawmakers have their way. A state lawmaker and medical experts proposed a first-in-the-nation bill Thursday that sugary drinks in California carry a health warning label similar to those found on cigarette packages, due to studies that link soda to obesity.
They are asking that the warning label be placed on the front and center of all cans and bottles of soda and juice drinks that have sugar added and 75 or more calories per 12 ounces.The proposed label 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,” state Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) said at a Capitol news conference.
They have covered all aspects of where soda is dispensed, with a plan for each. For fast food restaurants with self-serve soda fountains, the label would be on the dispenser. In a movie theater or business where the dispenser is behind the counter, made available to employees only, the label would be on the counter. In sit-down restaurants, a label would be on the menus.
“As with tobacco and alcohol warnings, this legislation will give Californians vital information they need to make healthier choices,” Monning said.
The legislation is supported by the California Medical Association. CalBev has opposed the notion, the state arm of the American Beverage Association, which said the proposal unfairly singles out one type of product for regulation.
“CalBev opposes the bill because obesity is a complex condition that can’t be boiled down to one specific product or ingredient,” said Jessica Borek, a spokeswoman for the industry group, whose members include Coca-Cola Co., Pepsi-Cola Co. and the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.
California has generally sided with measures that give consumers additional information about products. Over the years, the state has attempted to get residents to eat better, requiring restaurants to post calorie information on menus.