Sugary Drinks May Get Warning Labels in California

June 5, 2014

If passed by the State Assembly in the coming months, the bill could mandate warnings on drinks with added sugars.

Last week, the California State Senate passed the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act. If passed by the State Assembly in the coming months, the bill will require the following warning on sugary drinks: “Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

The warning is intended for non-alcoholic beverage containing added sugars and 75 calories or more per 12 fluid ounces. It would not extend to 100% natural fruit or vegetable juices, dietary aids, infant formulas, or beverages composed primarily of milk.

In an interview with Food Safety News, Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, said his group and other sponsors of the bill took this warning-label approach because state efforts to tax sugary drinks were failing nationwide. Efforts to tax sugary drinks are still going on, though, as U.S. Representative Rosa DeLaura (D-CT) has warned that national legislation is just weeks away.

“When a two-liter cola is 99 cents and blueberries are over three dollars, something has gone very wrong,” said DeLaura in an interview presented at the Soda Summit 2014, held by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

If the California State Assembly passes the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, opportunities for zero-calorie sweeteners such as stevia could likely increase.

 

Robby Gardner

Associate Editor

Nutritional Outlook magazine

robby.gardner@ubm.com