State Update

California Debates a Warning Label on Sugary Drinks

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California may become the first state in the country to require warning labels on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories in every 12 ounces. Sen. Bill Monning (D-CA) has sponsored S.B. 1000.

If the bill becomes law, the new labels would read: "STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay." The font for the warning label would vary based on the size of the beverage container.

Specifically, the bill would establish the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Safety Warning Act, which would prohibit a person from distributing, selling or offering for sale a sugar-sweetened beverage in a sealed beverage container, or a multipack of sugar-sweetened beverages, in California unless the beverage container or multipack bears a specified safety warning. The bill also would require every person who owns, leases, or otherwise legally controls the premises where a vending machine or beverage dispensing machine is located, or where a sugar-sweetened beverage is sold in an unsealed container to place a specified safety warning in certain locations, including, on the exterior of any vending machine that includes a sugar-sweetened beverage for sale. Additionally, the bill would require every person that distributes, sells or offers for retail sale a sugar-sweetened beverage to maintain on its business premises, for a period of two years following each distribution, purchase, or sale, all records, including legible invoices and purchase orders, to determine the quantity and type of sugar-sweetened beverages distributed, purchased or sold.

Noted within the bill is the following information: “Consistent evidence shows a positive relationship between sugar intake and dental caries (cavities) in adults and fewer caries when sugar intake is restricted. Children who frequently consume beverages high in sugar are at an increased risk for dental caries. Untreated dental caries can lead to pain, infection, tooth loss, and in severe cases, death.”