California Bill Would Put Warning Labels On Soda

A proposed bill in California would require labels warning of "obesity, diabetes and tooth decay" on soda bottles and fountains.

California Bill Would Put Warning Labels On Soda
Wikimedia Commons / Marlith

You've seen them on cigarettes and alcohol, but now Californians might see warning labels on soda. A new bill requiring warnings on sugary drinks in the state was introduced Thursday.

"Well California could become the first state to require warnings now, to put labels on sodas and other sugary drinks, as well." (Via WOFL

​"The label would warn of the risk of obesity, diabetes and tooth decay that comes with drinking beverages with added sugar." (Via WHEC)

The bill is a little unusual — the first of its kind. It would require labels on drinks that contain added sweeteners with 75 calories or more per 12 ounces. (Via TIME)

According to the Los Angeles Times, the labels would appear on prepared bottles and, in the case of fizzy fountain drinks, on the self-serve dispensers or on cash-register counters if the fountain is not available to customers.

Democratic Sen. William Monning introduced the bill with the backing of the California medical community. Dr. Harold Goldstein spoke in favor of the legislation, saying: 

GOLDSTEIN: "Soda and other sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet." (Via KCBS)

According to Fox News, Monning points to "overwhelming research" that links the bubbly drinks to high-risk health problems, hence the label's mention of obesity and diabetes. 

With that in mind, Monning said in a press release, “When the science is this conclusive, the state of California has a responsibility to take steps to protect consumers."

But there are a couple reasons opponents say the labels might not be necessary. 

For one thing, calorie counts and other nutritional information are already clearly printed on labels after the 2010 "Clear on Calories" industry initiative. (Via American Beverage Association / "Journey")

And CalBev, a branch of the American Beverage Association, released a statement saying, “We agree that obesity is a serious and complex issue. However, it is misleading to suggest that soft drink consumption is uniquely responsible for weight gain." They say the real reason for high sugar intakes comes mostly from food, not drinks. ​

Monning recently proposed another bill that would put a one-cent-per-ounce tax on sodas to go toward anti-obesity programs, but it was shelved in committee.