Should Soda Come With Warning Labels?

soda bottles

The soda industry has continued to counter restrictive efforts on their soda and other sugary drink products, either through soda taxes or even “Big Gulp bans,” like the one proposed last year by then-New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

But a recent effort to discourage people from buying soda might turn out to be more than the soda industry can bear; a new law introduced into the California state legislature would require warning labels to be placed on drinks that contain added sugar.

The law, called SB100, or the “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act,” would effectively require beverages containing sugars– as well as fountain machines that dispense them– to have warning labels stating: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

If the bill gets passes, drink manufacturers would be forced to apply the labels starting July of 2015. Some of the fizzy drinks affected would include sodas, energy drinks, juices, flavored water, bottled tea, and all other drinks carrying additional sugars.

Obesity costs California $52 billion each year in health care costs and lost productivity, the bill explains. On a national level, the cost is a nearly-insurmountable $147 billion– half of which is taken care of by taxpayers through either Medicare or Medicaid funding.

State Senator Bill Monning, the man who initially brought forth the bill, wants to provide sugary-drink consumers with the information they need to make fully-informed choices about the stuff they’re drinkin’.

The American Beverage Association is a leader in the fight against soda taxes, and has long pressed the idea that the best way to lower obesity rates is by education– not taxes, and Monning vehemently agrees.

Even if the law gets passed, it could take months– perhaps even years– to finally see a full inclusion of the law. But most legislation taking place in California eventually turns into a kind of de facto national law, simply because of the state’s size and economic influence. With a whopping 20 percent of the U.S. population residing in California, it might be a long summer for the soda industry if this law is passed.

 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Elvert Barnes

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