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
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.
Last year, he backed an unsuccessful measure that would have
taxed soft drinks.
“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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