- California lawmaker Bill Monning, the state’s senate majority leader, has proposed SB 203, also known as the Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks Bill. The bill would require all sugary drinks, including soda, energy drinks, sweet teas, and sports drinks, to have a warning label, either on the container or at point of purchase, that points out the risks of sugar consumption.
- Any drinks that contain added sweeteners with at least 75 calories per 12 oz. sold in California would have to bear the label, which would read: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
- The bill was first introduced last year as SB 1000 and passed the senate but later died in the assembly.
The labeling initiative comes at a time when instances of obesity and diabetes are rampant, both in California and throughout the country. Similar battles have been waged for a tax on soda, one of the primary sugary drink targets, which passed in Berkeley last November and in Mexico in 2013.
However, these labels won't come without a fight from the beverage manufacturing industry, which Monning calls "a formidable lobbying force." Part of the industry's argument is that consumers ingest more calories from desserts and other sweet snacks than sugary drinks. However, some food and beverage companies are making an effort to reduce the sugar content in their products, including Yoplait and Coca-Cola Canada. Interestingly, a recent study showed that though consumers demand less sugar in their food and drinks, many consumers still buy sugary products anyway.