Update: California Health Committee Passes Sugary Drink Warnings

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California State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel)

California’s State Senate Committee on Health passed the first measure in the U.S. that would require health warning labels on beverages with added sugar, according to Law360.

On Wednesday, the committee voted in favor, 5-2, for the bill that State Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) introduced in February. The bill 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 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 health’s public,” Monning said in a statement on Wednesday.

CalBev, the state’s branch of the American Beverage Association, called the bill a “red tape nightmare” that would increase overhead costs and retail prices. The branch also argued that the bill would interfere with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s plans with nutrition facts labels and questioned its exemption of sugary products that contain milk, such as Frappuccinos.

“It doesn’t make sense for California to waste time and taxpayer money singling out sugar-sweetened beverage containers when there’s a new national effort already underway,” CalBev said in a statement on Wednesday.

This is just the first step toward passing the bill, which would eventually require Governor Jerry Brown’s signature.