Senator Monning Renews Push for Warning Labels on Sugary Drinks

February 11, 2015

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – 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, Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel) has introduced legislation requiring health 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. “This bill will give Californians the at-a-glance information they need to make more healthful choices every day.”

Senate Bill (SB) 203 would require a warning label be placed on the front of containers or at the point of purchase for beverages 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 would read: STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.

“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, who is sponsoring the legislation, along with the Health Officers Association of California.

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.

Because sugar in liquid form is absorbed much more rapidly by the body, sugar sweetened beverages pose a greater danger to public health than the same sugar in solid foods.  Studies show that drinking one soda a day increases an adult’s likelihood of being overweight by 27 percent and a child’s by 55 percent, while increasing the risk of diabetes by 26 percent.

Last year, similar legislation, SB 1000, passed out of the California State Senate but failed to garner enough votes in the Assembly Committee on Health.