California’s attempt to become the first state to require warning labels on soft drinks and other sugary beverages has failed.  State Senator Bill Monning’s proposed legislation would have required sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks to carry a label reading, “CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”  Drinks required to carry the labels would have included those which contain added sweeteners and have seventy-five (75) or more calories per twelve (12) ounces.  Milk-based beverages, including frappucinos, lattes, and chocolate milk, would have been exempt from the bill.  The bill was voted down by the California Assembly Committee on Health by an 8-7 vote on Tuesday, June 17th.  The bill needed 10 votes to pass.

Backers of the soda bill claimed that using tobacco and alcohol warnings as models would help educate people about the potential risks of excess sugar consumption, including those outlined in the proposed warning label itself.  Supporters point to research indicating that increased consumption of processed sugars increases the risk for issues such as obesity.  However, beverage industry opposition indicated that the warning labels may clash with proposed changes to the Food and Drug Administration’s labeling scheme.  Skeptics and critics of the bill also decry placing consumption of processed sugar on the same plane as cigarette smoking, which is known to dramatically increase the risk of lung cancer.

But the critics will certainly not stop lawmakers across the country from trying.  The bill is the latest in a line of attempts by California legislators to curtail the consumption of sugar-packed drinks and other calorie-heavy sweets.  In 2005, California banned soft drinks and junk food from its public schools.  Sen. Monning himself has recently backed a plan that would have taxed soft drinks.  Other jurisdictions have also attempted to discourage soft drink consumption with little success.  New York City’s proposed ban on large-sized sodas was struck down in court in 2012.  Vermont’s attempt to raise taxes on soft drinks by a penny per ounce in 2013 also failed.  Sen. Monning has indicated that he will continue to support placing warning labels on soft drinks.