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Two-liter bottles of regular and diet soda are seen for sale at a Manhattan store on May 31, 2012 in New York City.
Medical experts and a state lawmaker proposed a bill this Thursday that would require soft drinks and other sugary beverages sold in California to carry a warning label similar to those placed on cigarette cartons. The proposal cites studies linking soda to obesity and other health risks, including diabetes and tooth decay.
The labels would be placed on bottles and cans of drinks with added sugar or with more than 75 calories per 12 ounces. In restaurants, warnings might be placed on menus, counters, or drink dispensers, and would read: "STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay."
The bill’s proponents, including the California Medical Association, argue that the label would give Californians valuable, crucial information about their health.
Critics, like CalBev, the state’s chapter of the American Beverage Association, say that the legislation unfairly singles out one type of product. If passed, the bill, SB 1000, would take effect in July 2015.
Should sugary drinks have warning labels attached? Do Californians need explicit warnings, or do they already understand the risks associated with soft drinks? Is this bill unfair to beverage groups -- should all sugary or unhealthy foods carry warnings? If passed, could SB 1000 be a model for the rest of the country?
Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel), State senator representing district 17 which stretches from Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo.
Bob Achermann, executive director of the California/ Nevada Soft Drink Association