Sugary drinks may get warning labels in California

Soda drinkers and vendors at SF State may soon find sugary drinks sold on campus will have a label to warn against negative health effects.

State Senator Bill Monning introduced a bill Feb. 13 which could require that soda companies place a warning label in clear view on all beverages containing 75 calories or more per 12 ounces, according to the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Safety Warning Act.

The label, created by a panel of nutrition and public health experts, would read: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

Lobby Shop Manager Elsa Ramos said that if the bill gets passed, it will have a drastic effect on the sales of sugary beverages at her store. The Lobby Shop sells a variety of drinks from Red Bull to Arizona Tea.

“We could promote it,” said Ramos, who added that she has a few solutions in mind to increase the sales. “We can also find an alternative product to sell, such as all natural or organic beverages.”

Holistic health studies Professor Erik Peper agrees with the proposal and thinks that the University should also raise the price of sugary beverages to use the funds for health education classes.

“The warning label is a great way to make students more aware,” said Peper. “But, we need to stop making unhealthy drinks easily accessible.”

The possible warning label would have some students reconsider their options before purchasing a sugary beverage.

Justin Gacula, a senior kinesiology major, said he will drink lemonade and iced tea once in a while, but would stop drinking certain beverages if they contained a warning label that shows how the drink can adversely affect his health.

“I like to create healthier eating and drinking habits as I get older,” said Gacula. “It’s important to take care of your body.”

However, the warning label will not prevent all students from drinking sugary beverages.

Albert Hsieh, a graduate nursing student, said he likes sugary beverages, but usually doesn’t drink them more than three times per week. He added that he thinks the label will affect student’s decisions before purchasing sugary beverages because it will remind them to think about their beverage choices.

“If saw a warning label, I would say I don’t drink these that often, so it’s okay,” said Hsieh. “But, I think sometimes I would still put it down and get something else. It’s all about changing habits and sometimes it’s the little things that make people think.”

The bill, if passed, would go into effect on July 1, 2015.