State senators narrowly approved legislation Thursday requiring warning labels on drinks with added sugars, a move supporters hope will curb obesity and diabetes.
"This epidemic is not only damaging the public's health, it is costing all Californians," said Sen. Bill Monning, D-Carmel, who wrote Senate Bill 1000. "Sugar-sweetened beverages represent the single largest contributor to the diabetes epidemic."
As currently written, the warning would caution consumers that beverages with added sugars, such as soft drinks and some juices, can play a role in causing obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
The legislation, which was sent to the Assembly on a 21-13 vote, would apply to sweetened drinks containing at least 75 calories per 12 ounces. Though the measure has the backing of health organizations, including the California Medical Association., it faces opposition from industry groups.
Opponents argue the bill is unnecessary because the federal government is considering a nutrition label overhaul. They also argue there are negative health effects from consuming most foods in excess.
"Putting government warning labels on more than 500 beverages will do nothing to change personal behaviors to teach people about healthy lifestyles," CalBev, the California arm of the American Beverage Association, said in a statement following the vote on SB 1000.
The legislation squeaked through when Sens. Marty Block, D-San Diego, and Norma Torres, D-Pomona, voted to push tally past the majority required for passage.
PHOTO: The Senate passed a bill that would require warning labels on drinks containing added sugar. Mark Lennihan/Associated Press