Federal Judge clears the way for San Francisco’s sugary drink warnings

Soda pop manufacturers will be forced to include warnings about the potential dangers of their products on certain advertisements in San Francisco after a federal judge declined to halt a new law.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen refused Wednesday to block the measure from taking effect July 25, meaning the soda pop companies will be required to sound the alarm about the health effects of sugary beverages…

The American Beverage Association, California Retailers Association and California State Outdoor Advertising Association had filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary injunction blocking the rule from implementation. They argued it violated their free speech rights.

Supporters of the law say it’s critical to warn consumers about the connection between sugary beverages and health problems. The language that must be included on the ads states: “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.”

Chen wrote in his order: “The warning required by the city ordinance is factual and accurate, and the city had a reasonable basis for requiring the warning given its interest in public health and safety.”

Kudos to Judge Chen. A pleasant exception to business-as-usual judiciary and assorted political hacks too busy playing ring-around-the-rosie with fundraisers and lobbyists to give attention to health hazards affecting the nation’s population.

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