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Soda: The Third Word War

A California senator has yet again introduced a bill that would require health-warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in the Golden State.

Sen. Bill Monning (second from right above) introduced Senate Bill 300 on Monday.

SB 300 would require beverages with added sweeteners of 75 calories or more per 12 ounces to have a warning label that states: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and tooth decay.”

This is Monning’s third try at getting the legislation passed.

"The problem we seek to address continues and is, in fact, getting worse," Monning told the Journal on Monday, referencing growing rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. "As long as the problem is out there, we will be persistent to provide choice (to consumers)."

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Early last year, Monning, a Democrat from Carmel and the Senate Majority Leader, withdrew SB 203 for consideration because he didn’t have the votes in the Senate Health Committee to get the measure to the Senate floor. He had introduced it in February 2015.

Two years earlier, Monning first introduced the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act as SB 1000. That bill passed the Senate but ran out of time during the regular legislative session for the House to consider it.

In November 2015, CrossFit Inc. Founder Greg Glassman took a two-week tour of a handful of CrossFit affiliate gyms in California to rally support for Monning’s bill. During his visits, Glassman explained why he wants a warning label on sugary beverages: the toxicity of sugar, Big Soda’s corruption of the health sciences and Big Soda’s funding of organizations targeting CrossFit affiliates.

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“I believe that a warning label will address all three of my concerns quite magically,” he said at the time.

In its most recent poll of Californians, Field Research Corp. found that 78 percent of voters support a warning label on sugary beverages—a slight increase from 2014, when 74 percent of California voters supported such a measure.

“Once you realize the significance of this issue, there aren’t a lot of options for you,” Glassman said in January 2016. “You can just stop caring, but that’s unusual. You can wait for human physiology to change, but that’s a long wait. You can remain resolute against the sugar people and want their role in everyone’s lives diminished, and that’s going to happen.”

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