San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors this week passed an ordinance that will require a warning label on posters and billboards that advertise sugar-sweetened beverages. But a warning label that misleads people about beverages is not helpful to anyone, as the Los Angeles Times pointed out in a recent editorial about statewide warning labels on beverage products.
“Sodas already have good, factual labeling,” stated the Times. “All ingredients are listed, and the nutritional analysis shows how many calories and how much sugar are in each serving. Consumers have ample information on which to base their decisions.”
The beverage industry goes beyond government regulations by voluntarily putting calorie information on the front of every can, bottle and pack we make. All of our ingredients are spelled out in detail on each can and bottle. We are also placing calorie information on more than 3 million company-controlled vending machines, self-serve fountain equipment and retail coolers nationwide.
San Francisco’s city council, known as the Board of Supervisors, seems to believe that beverages are a unique driver of health issues like obesity and diabetes. This is simply untrue.
As the Times points out: “Labeling requirements shouldn’t be imposed unless there’s a good reason for them, and they should provide consumers with important, new information for making knowledgeable decisions.”
Exactly. Consumers do not benefit from misleading information that tries to frighten them into wrongly thinking sugar-sweetened beverages are not safe. The Times points out that misleading warning labels only confuse customers and could backfire.
“Labels could even be counterproductive,” it states. “If sweetened drinks are the only products with a warning, won't consumers conclude, wrongly, that other sugary snacks are more healthful?”
The beverage industry is focused on being part of meaningful solutions to the complex issues we face as a country. In partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the Clinton Global Initiative, we launched our Balance Calories Initiative. Through this initiative, our companies are working to reduce calories from beverages by 20 percent per person nationally by 2025. By educating people on the importance of balancing what they eat and drink with what they do we can help them achieve a balanced lifestyle.