Soda War

By Andréa Maria Cecil

In Legal, Nutrition

October 23, 2015

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Bills requiring health-warning labels for sugar-sweetened beverages have thus far failed to become law but still succeeded in raising awareness.

The United States’ first two legislative measures seeking to add health-warning labels to sugar-sweetened beverages aren’t winning battles against Big Soda yet, sponsoring lawmakers conceded, but they are bolstering the war effort.

“It’s part of a national movement,” said Sen. Bill Monning, the Democrat who first introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act in February 2013 as Senate Bill 1000 in the California State Senate.

SB 1000 passed the Senate but ran out of time during the regular legislative session for the House to consider it. In February 2015, Monning again introduced the act—this time as SB 203. It failed to make it out of the Senate Health Committee. Monning called its failure disappointing and “a testament to the power of the (Big Soda) industry.”

During the next legislative session, which is scheduled to begin in December 2015, the senator from Carmel said he intends to revisit efforts aimed at reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages.

Meanwhile, in New York state, Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, a Democrat from the Bronx, modeled his Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act after Monning’s measure. Dinowitz introduced the bill in January. Two of the New York Assembly’s committees—Health as well as Consumer Affairs and Protection—held a joint public hearing on the bill in April. Dinowitz intends to vigorously pursue the measure come January.

In early November, CrossFit Inc. Founder and CEO Greg Glassman is scheduled to visit a handful of affiliates throughout California to rally support for a health-warning-label bill in the state where CrossFit is headquartered.

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