In the latest act of legislation to unfold surround the issue of product warning labels and the general health of the public, government officials in the United States have proposed that warning should be placed on fizzy drinks labels which state that the sugars in these popular beverages can lead to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
New York assemblyman Karim Camara has conceived on a new bill that, if passed, would dramatically change the way that these products appear on shelves and in vending machines across the United States. His push for labelling reform on soft drinks comes after a recent declaration by the World Health Organization which recommended that an individual’s daily intake of beverages with added sugars be reduced by half the volume of sugar. Taken into context of today’s current beverage sizes, this would result in a reduction of nearly five cubes of sugar per day. Camara was passionate in his belief that these drink labels will promote increased welfare for US citizens, stating, “The research is clear: too much sugar leads to health problems such as obesity and diabetes. As a society, we have a moral obligation to educate people so they can make healthier choices.”
There is, of course, a significant backlash following Camara’s statements. Critics of his policies have stated that the financial investment required to pursue such labelling reforms would prove to be a massive burden for US companies. That being said, it will, perhaps, be more difficult for these companies to oppose this particular proposition after the beverage industry lobbied against a penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages, stating that increased education was the solution to stemming the tide of obesity and diabetes in the United States, not financial penalties.
It will be interesting to see how this particular event unfolds. Even if Camara’s efforts are completely rebuked, the awareness he is raising about this particular issue may prove to be a catalyst for further beverage reformation in the near future. In the eyes of Camara’s supporters, as well as health advocates across the US and the world at large, such positive change truly cannot come soon enough.