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California Bill Proposes Soda Warning Labels.....................

While I completely agree that something needs to be done about sugary drinks as well as obesity in general, but does anyone really think a "warning label" on soda will really do anything?

I for one don't.

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  1. Just saw the story on CNBC. My take is a bit different than yours, Jr, in that I do not think "something needs to be done about sugary drinks". I do not care if someone elects to drink soda. But I do agree with you that some type of warning label will not accomplish much.

    7 Replies
    1. re: Fowler

      Well perhaps I should clarify, my main concern is the obesity problem in this country. (USA) I identify soda as part of that problem but by no means mean to single it out as the only problem.

      1. re: jrvedivici

        Jr, I agree that there is an obesity problem in the USA but I think we both agree that slapping some sort of warning label on everything "bad" that one can shove in their mouth is not the solution to the problem.

        1. re: Fowler

          Agree completely, but if you can find a warning label that could slap the consumer in the mouth prior to eating something bad, that might work!

          1. re: jrvedivici

            Where do you draw the line? Put a warning label on bratwurst or donuts or bacon? All consumed in excess will contribute to obesity. I know this from personal experience. :-)

            1. re: Fowler

              Last year I listened to the live webcast of the hearings in Sacramento, California's capitol, for the tax on sugary beverages. The representative for the Pepsi bottlers of California and Nevada said exactly that, where do you draw the line and why not tax bacon? :)

              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Melanie, where I live there would be violent riots if the government taxed bacon. :-) But taxation is not the issue in this case. The issue in your state, as I understand it, is putting warning labels on soda.

                1. re: Fowler

                  The subject of this thread is warning labels on soda. So yes, we're not talking about taxation here.

                  There is also a CA bill to tax sugary beverages, but it is in suspense again this year and a separate initiative. Governor Brown has let it be known that this is not the time to be raising taxes.

    2. Don't we all pay enough taxes? Don't we see examples every day that regulations, fines and laws don't work entirely and certainly don't deter folks even when such actions have consequences on other people?

      I don't drink many sugary drinks but why single out soda? A sugar tax would cover a great many products. If a sugar tax is implemented what gets taxed next?

      People who will ignore warning signs will also pay for ignoring them. So, CA or any other state considering this -stop taxing me.

      30 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Again I agree completely on the tax side issue. The reason I think they are targeting soda or sugary drinks is to try and curb the consumption by minors. Break the habit.

        1. re: jrvedivici

          And teens and their parents need a soda/sugar tax to break the habit? I'm sorry I fail to see how taxing everyone helps those who need a Pepsi with their hamburger. Reward healthy eating and a fit lifestyle instead.

          1. re: HillJ

            HillJ, you keep injecting the tax aspect into the conversation. I'm not supporting higher taxes and neither does the bill proposed in Cali (to my knowledge it doesn't involve tax) it's just a warning label which I feel is useless. Waste of time and money, we have far larger problems to address than warning labels on soda. Like reducing taxes!!!

            1. re: jrvedivici

              It is useless but it is also popular as a subject of tax revenue. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/965977

              Like I said if something like this goes through, what's next? I don't believe for a moment that such a bill would change how people consume soft drinks especially the very people this would be aimed at.

          2. re: jrvedivici

            Does that apply to Hot Pockets discussed on another thread? Any sugar in those bad boys?

            1. re: HillJ

              The goal isn't to eliminate sugar. I think you're missing the point of the bill.

              1. re: calumin

                No I'm not missing the point. I realize the goal in the link above is to address obesity but did you read the other thread on FMN about sugar tax?
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/965977, LA Times.

                I have no interest in having the state do anything more than educate consumers.

                1. re: HillJ

                  OK I can see you'd like the state to not do this, but that's not the same as saying these laws don't work -- which isn't true.

                  1. re: calumin

                    cal, I really don't go out of my way to argue or disagree with you. We can have a balanced discussion, I know that. But here in NJ I don't need to be in my car driving more than a few minutes to see other drivers breaking the law. I don't need to read another news report about what goes on in liquor stores selling to minors and I don't have to watch the tv evening news to know that laws don't always work. I am not confident that laws work. I'm sorry to say.

                    So pls tell me which are the laws that work for you?

                    1. re: HillJ

                      What is the alternative? Are you saying because people still murder people even tho it is illegal, we should just forget about laws in general?

                      Because *some* people will always break one law or the other?

                      I'd love to hear your proposal.

                      1. re: linguafood

                        Who said anything about an alternative? What alternative? How about just obey the law. That would be terrific.

                        I have no idea what you are talking about or the extreme example unrelated to this topic you're proposing.

                        1. re: HillJ

                          "But here in NJ I don't need to be in my car driving more than a few minutes to see other drivers breaking the law. I don't need to read another news report about what goes on in liquor stores selling to minors and I don't have to watch the tv evening news to know that laws don't always work. I am not confident that laws work."

                          It sounded like you didn't believe in laws, since you personally observe people breaking the law all the time.

                          If you then say "How about just obey the law. That would be terrific.", you are indicating that you think if people *did* obey the laws, we wouldn't have these problems.

                          So....you either believe in laws working, or you do not. Pick one?

                          1. re: linguafood

                            No I'm saying people break the law and do not follow the laws even knowing the consequences of breaking the law. If more people obeyed the law that wouldn't work for you?

                            Hopscotch over to using a cell phones in cars, not wearing seat belts in cars, drinking while driving, selling cigs to minors, liquor to minors, pharma drugs to anyone...okay.

                            And I still don't know what you're talking about.

                        2. re: linguafood

                          You're actually comparing murder to drinking soda?

                          1. re: rasputina

                            No, I wasn't. It was a rhetorical means called hyperbole, with which I am sure you are familiar.

                            To quote HillJ:

                            "But here in NJ I don't need to be in my car driving more than a few minutes to see other drivers breaking the law. I don't need to read another news report about what goes on in liquor stores selling to minors and I don't have to watch the tv evening news to know that laws don't always work. I am not confident that laws work."

            2. re: HillJ

              Hi HillJ!

              According to the story, it is not a tax (YET), just a warning label.

              1. re: Fowler

                Good to see you Fowler! True, and if this takes flight my follow up question is: where's my refund?? for keeping fit and healthy :)

                Secondly, on a slightly related/unrelated thought: did you see the report on CBS Sunday Morning where the military has a new culinary program to take fats out of the military chow line and offer healthier fare. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/how-to-fe... Our taxes are already being used to deal with obesity issues.

                1. re: HillJ

                  The causes of the rise in obesity are multifactorial. Similarly, it will take a multitude of different approaches to try to tackle the problem. But there's no mistaking that America's obesity problem is serious and has become one of national security when 27% of our young people are too fat to be recruited into the military.
                  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/retired-m...

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    Exactly the basis of the CBS Sunday Morning article I linked above regarding soldiers already serving. And who would disagree with your point about it taking a multitude of different approaches to try to tackle the problem. Not I.

                    I just don't see how mandating how society consumes food will do it. Does punishing consumers work? Does rewarding consumers work? What actually works?

                    1. re: HillJ

                      Nothing about adding a warning label to sugary beverages is a mandate for how society consumes food. It's an informational tool.

                      The model that's often held up as an example is the long campaign to decrease smoking. Education, taxes that increased price, social stigma, reduced access, warning labels, etc.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        There has been a boatload of informational tools already. Why not use NYC's Mayor Bloomberg and his war on consumer consumption, campaign for health, etc.. Children don't buy cigarettes. This is aimed at children first and foremost.

                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/nyr...

                            Health Panel Approves Restriction on Sale of Large Sugary Drinks, NYT

                            1. re: HillJ

                              That has been struck down as unconstitutional.

                              Again, it will take a multitude of approaches.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Then we don't actually disagree entirely.

                                1. re: HillJ

                                  That piece was in October when de Blasio was campaigning. Old and out of date again on your information. Now that he's in office, he and his team have refused to comment on their position. We'll see.

                2. re: HillJ

                  I see nothing wrong with a tax on non-nutritive beverages. But I wouldn't single out sugary drinks....I would also tax the diet drinks as well. Real food shouldn't be taxed...but sodas and soft drinks fill no real nutritional need, so why not tax them?

                  1. re: EricMM

                    Why manufacturer them? Why not take it up with Pepsico. And then we can all stop taking the money these companies provide in charitable contributions, global outreach and educational scholarships/grants too.

                    http://www.pepsico.com/PressRelease/P...

                3. As a former smoker who has seen the HUGE warning labels on Euro cigarette packs, I can say from my own personal experience that it made me think twice about buying them.

                  Maybe if you added pictures of obese people (no faces, of course, there is enough fat-shaming going on as it is) or pictures of feet and toes lost due to diabetes, it might have a similar effect.

                  It's certainly worth a try. And a sugar tax might help, too. Let's not forget the fact that cig prices have gone through the roof *also* has had an effect on the number of smokers.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: linguafood

                    I agree 150% on a sugar tax. I am not a radical by any means but enough of this B.S. that is marketed as *food*. The truth is many individuals have zero nutritional education and can not differentiate between which foods are essential nutritionally and which are 100 % pure junk. I say put a big *poison* label with a skull and crossbones on all of the junk:) AND a 25% tax!

                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                      Especially while Californians (and the rest of the US) figure out their new health insurance plans.

                    2. I would start at the windows of those famous but covert American Consulates around the world and California, namely McDonalds.

                      Breakfast Mac, Big Mac, Fat Mac, Cheese-loaded Mac, artery-clogging Mac, Obese Mac, Dinner Mac, Midnight Mac, all with or without oily, salty fries.

                      Instead of a single soda, where are those warnings ?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: SWISSAIRE

                        Right on the menu where they list calories per serving. In all the articles written about this chain's food. And are people no longer visiting McD's?

                        1. Recent pollings show that the people of California have a greater understanding of the dangers of obesity (even though it is close to the slimmest of states in our nation) and the relation to sugar intake. Also the latest Field poll showed that obesity concerns have overtaken illegal drug use as the risk parents are most concerned about for their children for the first time in 10 years. Further that this a matter that should be addressed for the sake of public health.
                          http://media.sacbee.com/smedia/2014/0...

                          Whether warning labels are the right answer I can't say. It is but one of many, many tactics that will be tried as we tackle this epidemic.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                            Is this important poll in response to the universal health care issues CA taxpayers face in anyway. My family has quite a few questions about how they as CA residents pay for the uninsured.

                            When you say "we" who are you referring to tackling this epidemic?

                            1. re: HillJ

                              The poll is self-explanatory, if you take the time to open the link and read it the source document. You making some time and mental effort on your own behalf is better than me trying to answer your unrelated questions.

                              I am a Californian. "We" is my reference to the people of California. It should refer to our whole country if we're going to take the obesity epidemic and its cost to society seriously.

                              1. re: Melanie Wong

                                Then you're also referring to about a dozen members of my family. I take obesity seriously. That's is why I am fit and healthy. The obesity issue does have all sorts of fallout tied to it. Lots of polls pointing lots of fingers. I could read all day.

                                The crisis is real I give you that.

                          2. Pretty ridiculous. Sugary sodas, like most other foods, are perfectly harmless for healthy people when used in moderation. Like many other foods, they're mostly bad news for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes. Like all other foods, they're bad for anybody when consumed to excess. Let's start taking children away from parents who let them eat Hostess Twinkies, too. Freaking California nitwits.

                            1. I still believe foods aren't the only culprit. Kids aren't moving enough, not exercising enough and neither are their parents. So what happened to all the fitness initiatives that Arnold spoke so highly of in CA?

                              Remember this: http://fitness.gov/pdfs/50-year-anniv...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: HillJ

                                Sure, many programs continue to be in play. Let's Move, walkable cities, bike paths . . . many approaches to chip away at the problem.

                                1. re: Melanie Wong

                                  Then the focus on the rewards you get when you move and exercise are working?

                                2. re: HillJ

                                  were they going to label bc of the caramel coloring as well? I could be very wrong on this. why not label it? I'd like to see a warning. I quit smoking one day bc of a crazy pack of cigarettes from Canada. Yes, for me I knew what I was doing was wrong but the visuals helped.

                                  Also, gym and running around has also been cut from many school (private and public) I believe recess is down to 15 minutes in many schools. Running at recess is banned outside at many school bc they're afraid of injuries.There's a pressure in academics that I don't think I had in elementary school that's eating up this running around time.

                                  There's also a lot of food in the classrooms. I remember food in the classrooms but not as much as what I hear. I believe some schools are getting a handle on this by eliminating food in the classrooms and keeping it in the cafeteria. My friends childs class uses food for everything. recently, her child had to bring in 10 kinds of food for counting to 100 to celebrate the 100th day of school. So this involved every kid bring in bags of m&m's, skittles, etc. Ugh. The teacher in this school use food as a reward every week. And guess what? The teacher is not skinny as friend tells me.

                                  I also think there's too much "snacking" with kids activities these days. We did soccer this fall and there was snack at half time. We are not talking orange slices at the end. We are talking full granola bars, juices, mini sandwiches, etc. every parent seem to want to outdo the other each week and the snacks ended up bigger and bigger. after half time the kids were unfocused and slow. There's also snack required at music. So after piano, there's snack time. I remember we were not allowed to eat during our music lessons. So there you have it. Some kids will eat all this and maintain their weight but I see very fat kids these days more so than I did when I was young.

                                  So labeling soda? I don't see why not. But i'm not sure it addresses all the rest of the issues.

                                  1. re: trolley

                                    I hear ya trolley, you make a lot of excellent points. And I'm not disputing them except to say I am doubtful that the label will be the end all or the end of the costs related to the intention of a label warning. This impacts business.

                                    We see news reports about the obesity in this country and it's useful and natural to react. Who wouldn't want to help children & families? These mega beverage and snack companies also help our country and the global community.

                                    So, I'm not saying serious issues don't need to be addressed but take a look at the food politics in our country right now. Food assistance programs get debated over qualifying allowances like processed foods run by the Fed; some local governments address sugar consumption. Where is the 3rd curtain that pulls in the best social minds and best choices and funds that for families?

                                3. Hi Melanie -

                                  Perhaps such legislation is another consideration as to why Coke has decided to get behind the Keurig Cold machine recently.

                                  Usually a Health & Safety law with warning legislation requires some sort of verification inspection and possible enforcement process for compliance.

                                  Funding for said compliance is usually derived from three sources: Process fees for permits, fines, or from taxation.

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: SWISSAIRE

                                    Per capita consumption of sodas (carbonated beverages) has been declining in the US for more than a decade. Interestingly, diet soda is dropping off at an even faster rate than regular soda. So, yes, the big beverage companies have been diversifying in order to stay in business, such as the example you cite, even prior to these new threats to their franchises.

                                    Fluid milk consumption per capita in the US is also on a downward trend. Consumers have shifted to teas, waters, and energy drinks.

                                    Energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Gatorade, are a target of California SB 1000 as well. Not just soda.

                                    http://www.thecalifornian.com/article...

                                    http://www.latimes.com/local/politica...

                                    1. re: Melanie Wong

                                      Wait, I thought you just said up thread that the subject of this thread is warning labels on soda.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        This is what I said upthread:
                                        "The subject of this thread is warning labels on soda. So yes, we're not talking about taxation here."

                                        1. re: Melanie Wong

                                          I know. So, it feels pretty crappy when your words are taken out of context by one CH and then another hits the Recommend button to confirm it. But thanks for taking a moment.

                                      2. re: Melanie Wong

                                        In normalized times, I would have suggested that Californians drink ....duh....water, but you are running out of it.

                                        1. re: Veggo

                                          Yesterday was "National Drink Wine Day" . . . I think it's time for an encore. <clink>

                                          P.S. Pay attention to the warning label. Not.

                                    2. Senator Bill Monning proposed this new bill not just for soda.A warning label to be affixed to all containers of soda and juice that have added sugar and 75 or more calories per 12 ounces.Orange juice will slide on this issue.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: emglow101

                                        Remarkable legislation, most worthy of killing off a few thousand trees for the paperwork.

                                        Such noble calorie counting might even catch on in time.

                                        Followed in time by warnings for spring water, tap water, well water, purified water, distilled water, glacial water . . . . one can't be too careful with suspended solids, minerals, oxygen levels, and clarity, either.

                                        Those nice Prop 65 warnings sure slowed down California wine consumption in two decades, right ?

                                        Wrong: Wine production and consumption has jumped dramatically. Consumers just guzzle it all down, ignoring the warnings, which being plastered everywhere, dull the mind and lose the intended effect.

                                        It is possible that with SB 1000, an increase in soft drink consumption may also be the resultant consequence of this bill. I actually read the calories, and salt content on a label, and do not accept a label stating something is OK or Not OK. I wouldn't believe that warning anyway.

                                        Calling Nanny McPhee !

                                      2. Clearly the lawmakers think that those who go to fast food restaurants and those that drink sugary drinks need guidance....They probably don't know these food choices are bad.

                                        We should applaud our government for providing help to the less informed.

                                          1. re: Melanie Wong

                                            I found this to be one of the most interesting portions of the article...

                                            "Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), whose district includes a Coca-Cola manufacturing and distribution plant, said she supported a "holistic" approach to combating the rise of diabetes and other ailments. But said she was "not comfortable singling out a single product."

                                            1. re: Fowler

                                              I agree with her because it's not "just" sugary drinks that are causing obesity. It's the sodas, ginormous portions of food that restaurants serve and people eat at home, and the burgers made out of donuts, and things like the KFC Double Down thing that make people obese.

                                              People who drink sugary drinks and eat healthy foods and healthy portions usually aren't obese. People who drink sugary drinks and eat unhealthy foods constantly tend to be obese.

                                          2. more 'nanny' laws. Don't lawmakers have enough to do without butting into people's kitchens?
                                            (no, I don't drink soda. But I don't care if other people do.)