Price Tag Stalls Calif. Sugar Warning Bill

calif sealThe California Senate Appropriations Committee has shelved a California Senate bill that would require health warning labels on beverages with added sugar because of its potential price tag, according to Law360. The committee voted 6-0 in favor of suspending the bill’s file until the state has prepared its budget.

The California Department of Public Health projects a price tag between $150,000 and $300,000 to implement regulations for local agencies. The department also projects a cost of $400,000 per year to enforce the bill’s mandates because it doesn’t currently enforce food safety laws at retail sites.

Law360 reports that the bill’s supporters, including State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), who introduced the bill in February, argue that the bill would pay for itself by reducing the consumption of sugary drinks, obesity and other sugar-related ailments, as well as saving money for state healthcare programs.

On April 9, California’ State Senate Committee on Health voted 5-2 in favor the bill, which would require beverages with 75 calories or more per 12 oz. to carry warning labels that read: “State of California Safety Warning: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.”

The same day the Senate passed the bill, Monning said in a statement: “[The bill] does exactly what the beverage industry has long said we should do — educate the public — and this is the appropriate public health response to the scientifically proven risk that liquid sugar poses to the public’s health. The bill is a common sense measure that is overwhelmingly supported by the public.”

And maybe supported by the state of California, depending on the coffer.