In keeping with this blog’s attention to legislation addressing the health hazards of “sugary drink” consumption, we now move to the great state of California.  Bill number SB 1000 was introduced in California by Senator Monning on February 13, 2014. Named the “Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act”, the proposed legislation speaks to the health hazards relating to sugar-sweetened beverages and obesity as the driver of the legislation. The focus of the bill, and the main colorful strawspoint of the discussion in some of the articles I read in the press, was the requirement that a warning be placed on all sealed beverage containers which have 75 or more calories of added sweeteners in every 12 ounces.

So, what about the franchise industry? The bill does go farther to require that warnings be placed in various locations at stores that sell these drinks through vending machines of beverage dispensing machines. The text of this portion of the bill follows:

111224.20. (a) Every person who owns, leases, or otherwise legally controls the premises where a vending machine or beverage dispensing machine is located, or where a sugar-sweetened beverage is sold in an unsealed beverage container, shall place, or cause to be placed, a safety warning in each of the following locations: (1) On the exterior of any vending machine that includes a sugar-sweetened beverage for sale. (2) On the exterior of any beverage dispensing machine used by a consumer to dispense a sugar-sweetened beverage through self-service. (3) At the point-of-purchase where any consumer purchases a sugar-sweetened beverage in an unsealed beverage container, when the unsealed beverage container is filled by an employee of a food establishment rather than the consumer. (b) The safety warning required by subdivision (a) shall contain the following language: “STATE OF CALIFORNIA SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”

 Industry groups are beginning to weigh in on the merits of this legislation. In any case, it will be important to track this legislation to ensure compliance by franchised fast-food and other food/beverage concepts.