• S.F. Soda Warning Label On Hold For Now

    aluminum-87986_640Insider had previously posted about San Francisco becoming the first city in the U.S. to require health warnings on soda and other sugar-added drinks. The Wall Street Journal updates the news as a federal judge has granted the beverage industry an injunction pending appeal.

    The law was slated to go into effect July 25 and would require that billboards and other public advertisements include the language: “WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. This is a message from the City and County of San Francisco.”

    The American Beverage Association filed a civil complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California last July, arguing that the requirement violates free-speech rights under the First Amendment. The California Retailers Association and California State Outdoor Advertising Association joined in on the complaint.

    A U.S. District Judge had previously denied an American Beverage Association’s request for a preliminary injunction, ruling that plaintiffs are unlikely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment claim or to suffer irreparable harm if the ordinance goes into effect. But in a follow-up ruling this past Tuesday, the judge granted an injunction pending appeal to allow the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to weigh in on the issue.

    Baltimore is weighing a proposal that would go one step further by requiring warning signs for sugary drinks in stores, in addition to accompanying advertisements. And Philadelphia’s city council is debating whether to tax sugary drinks as much as 3 cents an ounce, potentially raising prices by more than 50%.

    Insider’s take – At first blush this seemed to be an “only in San Francisco” type article, but sometimes California leads the way.  With Baltimore looking at similar requirements, this might merit watching.


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