Statement of CSPI Policy Director Laura MacCleery
Consumers deserve to know the truth about what sugary drinks do to their health. That’s why the City and County of San Francisco enacted an ordinance requiring factual messages on certain advertisements for sugar-sweetened drinks warning consumers about the drinks’ contribution to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. And we are grateful to the City’s leaders for thinking creatively to address those and other health hazards posed by sugary drinks.
Today, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the warning, which would have occupied 20 percent of the advertisements, was too large to pass constitutional muster. We’re disappointed that consumers will not benefit from the sensible warnings proposed by San Francisco.
We hope that cities, counties, and state legislatures continue to enact a wide range of policies to combat soda-related disease. Taxes on sugary drinks were shown in Berkeley, Philadelphia, and Mexico to reduce consumption of these beverages. Many communities are requiring restaurants to offer healthier drinks with kids’ meals. Soda and other sugary drinks should be rare and served in reasonable portions—and should not be the default drinks that their manufacturers want them to be.