Sugary Beverage Warning Law Lands in the Suspense File

Sugary beverage warning stalled over $400,000 bill

by Brian Leubitz

That number you read above is not missing any zeros. Apparently the policy decision to help reduce diabetes fell to a bill of less than half a million dollars, which in the grand scheme of obesity costs, is quite small.

A state bill that would require health-warning labels on sugar-added drinks and sodas in California was sidelined Monday for further review of its enforcement costs even though its author argued that it would cut costs to taxpayers in the long term by reducing diabetes and other obesity-related diseases.

The Senate Appropriations Committee moved SB 1000 to the suspense file. Sen. Bill Monning (D-Carmel) said he will work to reduce the $390,000 in immediate costs of enforcement for his measure so it can be revived for a floor vote. (LA Times)

Can it be really argued that the net expense of this will be positive for the state? Dialysis and other diabetes care is rapidly becoming one of the biggest expenses to our health care system. A single patient on dialysis can cost around $75,000 per year. $390,000 vs even a small handful of reduced diabetes cases would be a huge savings to the state. Expand that out to the entire state, and we could see significants savings.

Yet the beverage companies, specifically the two large soda companies, are in no mood to see such regulation. They don’t want to break the myth of having a good time with a refreshing beverage, or “quenching your thirst” with a “sports drink.” But with the threat of a soda tax in San Francisco, any small crack in the armor is not something that the beverage industry can tolerate. All this despite the fact that big majorities of likely voters favor the warnings.

Even if it would save lives, in today’s climate, the corporate bottom line takes priority.  

4 thoughts on “Sugary Beverage Warning Law Lands in the Suspense File”

  1. Brian, I feel that you are awfully quick to pull out the well-used “the corporate money interests killed good legislation” tag in this case.

    Do you know that sugary beverages are bad for you?  You do?  So do I.  Do you think there are many Californians who do not know this important health news?  I don’t.

    If we want less consumption of these drinks, then set a dis-incentive, like tax it.   We do that with our gas tax.  It raises the price of a gallon to remind us to economize more.  We do the same with cigarettes.  It works. Likewise, when we want to encourage a behavior we provide economic incentives (for solar panels, electric cars, etc.).  These also work.

    Warning labels? I see Prop 65 (1986) warnings on airplanes.  Is that why so many airline went bankrupt?  The warning signs?  Nope, these lead warning signs accomplished nothing of value imho.  Nor would this warning that added sugar is not beneficial to our health.

    What about the syrup pourers at IHOP?  Do they need warning labels too?  Maybe the vendors at Giants games need to give a short warning speech before selling a kid a churro?

    The problem of obesity and health is real.  But this is not the right solution- it costs scarce $ and will not have a measurable impact (it’s just words).

    Not every piece of Leno and/or Ammiano-backed legislation is good (shocker!) and not every piece of Leno and/or Ammiano-backed legislation that is tabled is due to “evil corporations”.

    Toyota just announced that it is moving it’s USA HQ from California to Texas (and taking 4,000 jobs with them).  Let’s focus on legislation that attracts business so we can build a better California…. for everyone.

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