In the wake of a growing movement to rein in sugary drink consumption and unprecedented evidence tying these beverages to California’s skyrocketing diabetes and obesity rates, Senate Majority Leader Bill Monning (D-Carmel) today introduced landmark legislation requiring safety warning labels on sugary drinks.
“Given the rock solid scientific evidence showing the dangers of sugary beverages, the state of California has a responsibility to inform consumers about products proven to be harmful to the public’s health,” stated Senator Monning. “As with tobacco and alcohol warnings, this legislation will give Californians the at-a-glance information they need to make healthier choices every day.”
SB 203 would require a simple warning on the front of beverage containers with added sweeteners that have 75 or more calories per 12 ounces. These beverages include sodas, sweet teas, sports drinks and energy drinks. The label, developed by a national panel of public health experts, would read: STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.
First introduced by Senator Monning as SB 1000 in last year’s legislative cycle, SB 203 is a response to voters’ growing concerns about the health impact of these beverages, especially among children. An estimated 14 percent of Californians have diabetes today, the highest rate in history. In just the past decade, pre-diabetes in US teens more than doubled from 9 to 23 percent, leading researchers to forecast that one in three children will develop type II diabetes as adults. In addition, over 60 percent of California’s adults and 40 percent of California’s children are overweight, making them more susceptible to heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.
“When you have medical professionals, public health officials and an overwhelming body of science all pointing to sugary drinks as the leading contributor to the skyrocketing diabetes epidemic, California must take action,” stated Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, which is sponsoring the legislation.
Complete information on the legislation, including fact sheets on the science linking sugary beverages to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, is available at: www.sodawarninglabel.org.