Updated: 02/14/2014 6:59 AM
Created: 02/13/2014 7:58 PM WHEC.com
By: Associated Press
California would become the first state to require warning labels on sodas and other sugary drinks under a proposal a state lawmaker announced Thursday.
SB1000 would require the warning on the front of all beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories in every 12 ounces. The label would read: "STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay."
Democratic Sen. William Monning, who proposed the bill, said there is overwhelming research showing the link between sugary drinks and those health problems, adding that the wording was developed by a national panel of nutrition and public health experts. The bill has the backing of the California Medical Association and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy.
"The goal of the warning quite simply is to give consumers the right to know what are well-established medical impacts from consuming these beverages," Monning, from Carmel, said in a telephone interview. "We're talking about a public health epidemic that will take more lives than gun violence."
The Latino Coalition for a Healthy California and the California Black Health Network also are sponsoring the legislation, citing the heavy consumption of sugary drinks and associated health problems among minorities.
A bill similar to Monning's was introduced last year in Vermont, but it has been held in the Committee on Human Services since April. The Vermont bill would require manufacturers to put warning labels on beverages that contain sugar or other artificial additives.
CalBev, the California arm of the Washington, D.C.-based American Beverage Association, noted that the industry already posts calorie counts on the front of many beverage containers as part of its "Clear on Calories" campaign that began in 2010. Also, drink bottles already have detailed ingredient lists and nutritional information.