label for sugary drinks passes California Senate
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[May 30, 2014]
By Jennifer Chaussee
SACRAMENTO Calif. (Reuters)
- A bill to require sugary soft drinks to carry labels
warning of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay passed the
California Senate on Thursday, the latest move by
lawmakers nationwide aimed at persuading people to drink
The legislation next goes to the state Assembly, where it is likely
to continue to face an ongoing tug-of-war battle between the U.S.
food and beverage industry and public health officials, who have
lobbied for the measure. Governor Jerry Brown would then have to
sign it into law.
If implemented, the measure would put California, which banned sodas
and junk food from public schools in 2005, in the vanguard of a
growing national movement to curb the consumption of high-calorie
beverages medical experts say are largely to blame for an epidemic
of childhood obesity.
"Liquid sugar is a significant and unique driver of obesity,
preventable diabetes, and tooth decay,” said Democratic state
senator Bill Monning, author of the bill. "Some people accuse this
(bill) of nanny governing and yet it is the government that’s
responsible to protect the public health and safety of its people.”
In 2012, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spearheaded a
citywide ban on sales of oversized sugary soft drinks, but the move
was declared illegal by a state judge after a court challenge by
makers of soft drinks and a restaurant group. New York's highest
court has agreed to hear an appeal.
The California measure, passed on Thursday by a 21-13 vote in the
state Senate, marks the second time that Monning, who represents the
central coastal area around Carmel, has tried to influence
consumers' drink choices.
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Last year, he backed an unsuccessful measure that would have taxed
“Putting government warning labels on more than 500 beverages will
do nothing to change personal behaviors or teach people about
healthy lifestyles,” said CalBev, the California arm of the American
Beverage Association, in a statement. “The last thing California
needs is more warning labels.”
(Editing by Dan Whitcomb and Lisa Shumaker)
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