CA sugary beverage warning label fails to reach Senate floor — again

Dive Brief:

  • The California state government has again not been able to move Senate Bill 203, the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, out of the Senate Health Committee and to the state legislature, the same issue the bill had last year. The bill's sponsor withdrew it, noting he felt there might not be enough support to move the bill to the Senate floor, according to Civil Eats.
  • The bill would have required manufacturers to include safety warnings on all sugar-sweetened beverages and vending machines.
  • The failure to bring the bill before the state legislature is in spite of widespread consumer support and public endorsements from big names in the food and fitness industries.

Dive Insight:

"Timing is everything when dealing with public policy issues and I remain committed to this issue and will continue to explore future options," Bill Monning, a California senator, the bill's sponsor, said in a statement.

According to Civil Eats, advocacy group 16 Packets had been targeting the Democrats on the Senate Health Committee that abstained from voting, which led to the withdrawal of the bill. 16 Packets spokesman Yonatan Landau noted the campaign contributions those senators receive from the soda industry.

California has been at the center of much of the sugar-related legislation debate, with Berkeley's soda tax passed in 2014 and San Francisco's approval in June of a ban on sugary beverages ads on city property and a warning label on all sugary beverages sold in the city. The American Beverage Association then sued the city of San Francisco in July over the labels' alleged violations of the First Amendment.

One recent study demonstrated the potential efficacy of warning labels for sugar-sweetened beverages. Among participants in the study, only 40% said they would choose a sugar-sweetened beverage if it had a warning label on it as compared to 60% when no label was present. 

Filed Under: Packaging / Labeling
Top image credit: lurba