While health advocates and other opponents of sugary drinks like soda had high hopes for a California bill that would’ve become the first law requiring warning labels on such beverages, lawmakers in the State Assembly effectively killed that measure yesterday.
The proposal to slap health warning labels on things like sodas and sports drinks didn’t get enough support in a vote by the Assembly Committee on Health, as Democratic lawmakers weren’t sure whether such labels could actually change consumer behavior, reports the Los Angeles Times.
It needed 10 votes to pass, and was voted down by a 7-8 vote.
“We’re in the midst of a diabetes and obesity epidemic that is wreaking havoc on the public’s health and driving up healthcare costs,” said the bill’s author, state Sen. Bill Monning, before he made a presentation before the committee, reports the Los Angeles Times.
He and other supporters of the bill, like the California Medical Association and the Center for Science in the Public Interest, as well as other public health groups, said the labels would be a chance for consumer to make healthier choices.
Opponents of the bill included the California/Nevada Soft Drink Association, with a rep saying it was “punitive and unfair” by calling out sugary drinks as the cause of problems like obesity and diabetes.
Others who voted no on the bill said while it’s good to fight for the public health, “singling out a single product” wasn’t the way to do so.
It’s not totally dead — just mostly dead, however, as Monning can still try one more time to get it past the panel.
If the bill were to become law, it’d be the first of its kind in the United States.
Bill requiring health labels on sugary drinks fails in Assembly panel [Los Angeles Times]