Press Clips: Physicians Call for Regulation on Kids’ Access to Sugary Drinks

Physicians Groups Take a Stand Against Sugary Drinks

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association are introducing new policy recommendations to limit kids’ and teens’ access to sugary drinks, according to CNN.

On March 25, the physicians’ groups released a public policy recommendation published in the journal Pediatrics, stating that “Excess consumption of added sugars, especially from sugary drinks, contributes to the high prevalence of childhood and adolescent obesity.” They also noted how excess sugar consumption increases the risk of health issues such as dental decay, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.

The recommendations included: an excise tax to increase the shelf price of sugary drinks; support from federal and state governments in decreasing sugary drink marketing to adolescents; ensuring that federal nutrition assistance programs such as WIC provide access to healthy foods; added sugar content listing on menus and advertisements; policies which make healthy drinks the default in vending machines and restaurants; and hospitals limiting or disincentivizing buying sugary drinks.

“We have tried, and failed, to curb sugary drink intake through education and individual choices alone,” Dr. Natalie Muth, a pediatrician and registered dietitian who was lead author of the statement, told CNN. “Just like policy changes were necessary and effective in reducing consumption of tobacco and alcohol, we need policy changes that will help reduce sugary drink consumption in children and adolescents.”

William Dermody, spokesperson for the American Beverage Association (ABA), responded to the policy recommendations, telling CNN, “America’s beverage companies believe there’s a better way to help reduce the amount of sugar consumers get from beverages and it includes putting parents in the driver’s seat to decide what’s best for their children.”

Dermody also stated the ABA supports making healthy beverages like water or milk the default beverage for kids’ menus, and noted that 50 percent of all beverages currently sold have no sugar.

Big Soda Funding Anti-Tax Efforts in California

Soft drink companies and lobbyists working on their behalf have spent $11.8 million over the past two years to block proposals of sugary beverage taxes and health warnings on their packaging, according to California Healthline. The paper reported that those expenditures included gift and perks for state lawmakers, including tickets to sports games and a free screening of “Black Panther.”

In February, the LA Times reported that California lawmakers proposed a bill to tax sugary sodas and ban the sale of oversized sodas, such as 7-Eleven’s signature “Big Gulp,” to address what they called a “public health crisis.” Several other states are considering imposing similar taxes.

California Healthline found that “9 in 10 state senators and members of the Assembly, or a member of their staff, accepted a campaign contribution, gift or charitable donation in 2017 and 2018 from the American Beverage Association (or its political action committee), the Coca-Cola Co. or PepsiCo — the three largest givers in the industry.”

Last year, as more soda taxes were proposed in California, soda companies spent $8.9 million supporting a ballot measure to make it more difficult to impose any new taxes in the state, which extended beyond beverages. Lawmakers then banned local soda taxes until Jan. 1, 2031 if the companies dropped the ballot proposal.

In an email response to California Healthline, ABA VP William Dermody Jr. wrote: “It’s important to inform lawmakers about the contributions that our products make to the local economy, not only the millions in tax revenues we generate for the state but the wages we bolster for hundreds of thousands of California workers.”

Poland Spring Faces Lawsuit

A judge has allowed a lawsuit to move forward which contends that Nestle Waters’s Poland Spring “100% Natural Spring Water” doesn’t come from a spring, according to the New York Times.

The lawsuit, filed in the United States District Court in Connecticut, claims that the water which Poland Spring sources is actually mislabeled common groundwater. A similar class-action lawsuit was filed against Poland Spring in 2003.

The lawsuit “seeks an unspecified amount of compensatory and punitive damages as well as a permanent injunction preventing Nestlé Waters from continuing the alleged fraud,” according to NYT.

The lawsuit also claims that the titular spring in Maine actually dried up 50 years ago, and that the company created man-made springs to comply with the law.

Nestle Waters North America claims that last year, an independent investigation “confirmed that Poland Spring Brand spring water sources meet all F.D.A. regulations defining spring water.”

“Consumers can be confident in the accuracy of the labels on every bottle of Poland Spring, and that Poland Spring Brand natural spring water is just what it says it is — 100 percent natural spring water,” Nestle Waters said in a statement on March 29.

Red Bull Music Academy and Red Bull Radio Shut Down

Resident Advisor reported last week that employees of Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) and Red Bull Radio were informed late last month that the entities will shut down effective October 31.

Red Bull is ending its partnership with consulting firm Yadastar, which oversaw RMBA and Red Bull Radio. Red Bull Music and Red Bull Music Festival, not associated with Yadastar, will continue.

“Red Bull will be moving away from a strongly centralized approach, will gradually phase out the existing structure and will implement a new setup which empowers existing Red Bull country teams and utilizes local expertise,” Red Bull told Resident Advisor in a statement. “Red Bull will continue to explore new ways to support promising and cutting-edge artists wherever they may be.”

The company did not comment on how many jobs will be lost as a result of this decision.

RBMA hosted lectures, workshops and concerts across the world, ran a daily digital publication and provided musicians access to high quality music equipment.

Yadastar posted a statement on its Twitter account on April 3 confirming that it had “mutually agreed to part ways” with Red Bull and thanking its employees.

RBMA celebrated its 20th anniversary last year in Berlin. Several artists, journalists and labels took to Twitter following the announcement to react to the news.

Arizona Beverages Faces Ransomware Attack

Arizona Beverages was the target of a ransomware attack on March 21, Tech Crunch reported, and the company is still recovering.

During the attack, the screens on over 200 of the company’s servers and networked computers lit up with the message “Your network was hacked and encrypted.” Employees were also instructed to hand in their possibly compromised laptops.

A source told Tech Crunch that Arizona brought in incident responders five days after the attack, after discovering its backup system wasn’t working properly and that the company was running outdated Windows operating systems. According to the source, the responders claimed the company’s system “had been compromised for at least a couple of months.”

Several weeks prior, the FBI warned the company of a possible Dridex malware infection, which is sent through an email attachment and allows attackers access to network traffic and passwords. Responders believed this infection to be the cause of the ransomware attack.

In response, Arizona spent “hundreds of thousands” on new hardware, according to the source. The attack left the company unable to process orders for a week, costing millions in lost sales. The company is still recovering from the attack and is about “60 percent up and running,” the source said.