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Sugary Drink Warning Label Bill Falls Short, Legislation Likely to Spark National Movement

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Via Press Release
06/18/2014 9:30 AM

SACRAMENTO, CA, June 17, 2014…SB 1000, the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Safety Warning Act, fell short in the California State Assembly this afternoon in an 8-7 vote. The bill would have helped curb skyrocketing diabetes rates by printing a simple warning label on the front of all bottles and cans of sugary drinks sold in the state.

    Senator Bill Monning (D-Carmel), in partnership with health advocates, community groups and physicians, introduced the bill to ensure that all Californians are aware of the science describing the harmful effects of consuming these drinks. The label, developed by a national panel of nutrition and public health experts, would have read:STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.

    “People may know that sugary drinks aren’t good for you, but most people do not know the profoundly harmful end results of consuming liquid sugar, which includes type II diabetes,” said Dr. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, a sponsor of the bill. “This legislation would have offered consumers the information that they have a right to know, in a simple, straightforward and transparent manner.”

    Led by Health Committee Chair Dr. Richard Pan, seven Assemblymembers voted in support of the legislation (Pan, D-Sacramento;  Ammiano, D-San Francisco; Chesbro, D-North Coast; Hernandez, D-West Covina; Lowenthal, D-Long Beach; Nazarian, D-Van Nuys, and Wiecowski, D-Fremont). All committee Republicans (Chavez, Oceanside; Maienschein, San Diego; Mansoor, Costa Mesa; Nestande, Palm Desert; Patterson,  Fresno, and Wagner, Irvine) and two Democrats (Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles and Gonzalez, San Diego), were opposed. Four Democrats abstained (Bonilla, Concord; Bonta, Oakland; Gomez, Los Angeles, and Rodriguez, Pomona).

    An overwhelming body of scientific research shows that liquid sugar is uniquely harmful because it gets absorbed so quickly, much faster than solid food. When sugar floods the bloodstream, it overloads the pancreas and causes the liver to store the sugar as fat – which leads to fatty liver disease. Both of which contribute directly to diabetes – a disease that has tripled in the U.S. over the last 30 years. Research shows that drinking a soda or two a day increases the risk of developing diabetes by 26 percent. Two-thirds of California teenagers drink a soda or more a day, a higher proportion than ever before.

    “While I am disappointed SB 1000 did not pass out of Committee, I remain committed to pursuing this issue and being part of a broad public health campaign to educate communities about the proven health risks of sugary drinks,” stated Senator Monning.  “Protecting the public’s health from the adverse effects of these products will help combat the diabetes and obesity epidemics in California.”

    SB 1000 passed the California State Senate but did not pass in the State Assembly’s Health Committee due to strong beverage industry opposition. According to a recent Field Poll, 74 percent of California voters, including a majority of Republicans and Independents, support warning labels on sugary drinks.

    “The beverage industry and their legion of lobbyists made it their top priority to kill warning labels and keep consumers from learning about the significant health implications associated with these sugary products. Nonetheless, what has begun in California will surely spread nationwide as states throughout the country look for ways to inform and protect their citizens,” said Dr. Goldstein. “How many more children and teens need to get diabetes before we warn consumers about the harmful effects of liquid sugar?”    

    Complete information on SB 1000, including fact sheets on the science linking sugary beverages to diabetes, obesity and tooth decay, is available at:www.sodawarninglabel.org.

Copyright © 2014 Amador Ledger Dispatch
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