STATE OF NEW YORK
August 20, 2014
Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES -- (at request of M. of A. Camara) --
read once and referred to the Committee on Consumer Affairs and
AN ACT to amend the agriculture and markets law, in relation to the
labeling of sugar-sweetened beverages with warnings
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assem-bly, do enact as follows:
1 Section 1. Short title. This act shall be known and may be cited as
2 the "sugar-sweetened beverages safety warning act".
3 § 2. Legislative intent. The legislature hereby finds and declares
5 (a) the prevalence of obesity in the state has increased dramatically
6 over the past 30 years. Although no group has escaped the epidemic, low
7 income communities and communities of color are disproportionately
9 (b) the obesity epidemic is of particular concern because obesity
10 increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, asthma and
11 certain types of cancer. Depending on their level of obesity, from 60
12 percent to over 80 percent of obese adults currently suffer from type II
13 diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure or other related
15 (c) the medical costs for people who are obese are dramatically higher
16 than for those of normal weight. Overweight and obesity account for $147
17 billion in health care costs nationally, or 9 percent of all medical
18 spending, with one-half of these costs paid publicly through the Medi-
19 care and Medicaid programs;
20 (d) there is overwhelming evidence of the link between obesity and the
21 consumption of sweetened beverages, such as soft drinks, energy drinks,
22 sweet teas and sports drinks. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
23 recommend that everyone reduce their intake of sugar-sweetened beverag-
25 (e) individuals who drink one to two sugar-sweetened beverages per day
26 have a 26 percent higher risk for developing type II diabetes. Over the
27 past 10 years, the percentage of teens nationwide that have diabetes or
EXPLANATION--Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
 is old law to be omitted.
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1 prediabetes has increased from 9 percent to 23 percent. According to the
2 American Diabetes Association, persons with type I diabetes should limit
3 or avoid consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. Complications of
4 diabetes include: heart disease, nerve damage, gum infections, kidney
5 disease, hearing impairment, blindness, amputation of toes, feet or
6 legs, and increased risk of Alzheimer's disease;
7 (f) according to nutrition experts, sweetened beverages, such as soft
8 drinks, energy drinks, sweet teas and sports drinks, offer little or no
9 nutritional value, but massive quantities of added sugars. A 20 ounce
10 bottle of soda contains the equivalent of approximately 17 teaspoons of
11 sugar. Yet, the American Heart Association recommends that Americans
12 consume no more than five to nine teaspoons of sugar per day;
13 (g) sugar-sweetened beverages are the single largest source of added
14 sugars in the American diet, with the average American drinking nearly
15 45 gallons of sweetened beverages a year, the equivalent of 39 pounds of
16 extra sugar every year. Over 50 percent of the United States population
17 drinks one or more sugar-sweetened beverages per day;
18 (h) sugar-sweetened beverages are a unique contributor to excess
19 caloric consumption. Research shows that calories from sugar-sweetened
20 beverages do not satisfy hunger the way calories from solid food or fat
21 or protein-containing beverages such as those containing milk and plant-
22 based proteins. As a result, sugar-sweetened beverages tend to add to
23 the calories people consume rather than replace them;
24 (i) consistent evidence shows a positive relationship between sugar
25 intake and dental caries (cavities) in adults and fewer caries when
26 sugar intake is restricted. Children who frequently consume beverages
27 high in sugar are at an increased risk for dental caries. Untreated
28 dental caries can lead to pain, infection, tooth loss and, in severe
29 cases, death; and
30 (j) evidence suggests that health warnings can increase knowledge and
31 reduce consumption of harmful products.
32 § 3. The agriculture and markets law is amended by adding a new
33 section 204-e to read as follows:
34 § 204-e. Labeling of sugar-sweetened beverages. 1. For the purposes of
35 this section:
36 (a) "Beverage container" means any sealed or unsealed container
37 regardless of size or shape including, but not limited to, those made of
38 glass, metal, paper, plastic, or any other material or combination of
39 materials that is used or intended to be used to hold a sugar-sweetened
40 beverage for individual sale to a consumer.
41 (b) "Beverage dispensing machine" means any device that mixes concen-
42 trate with any one or more other ingredients, and dispenses the result-
43 ing mixture into an unsealed container as a ready-to-drink beverage.
44 (c) "Caloric sweetener" means any substance containing calories, suit-
45 able for human consumption, that humans perceive as sweet and shall
46 include, but not be limited to, sucrose, fructose, glucose, and other
47 sugars and fruit juice concentrates. "Caloric" means a substance that
48 adds calories to the diet of the individual who consumes such substance.
49 (d) "Concentrate" means a syrup or powder that is used or intended to
50 be used for mixing, compounding or making a sugar-sweetened beverage.
51 (e) "Consumer" means an individual who purchases a sugar-sweetened
52 beverage for a purpose other than resale.
53 (f) "Distribute" means to sell or otherwise provide a product to any
54 person for resale.
55 (g) "Natural fruit juice" means the original liquid resulting from the
56 pressing of fruit, the liquid resulting from the reconstitution of
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1 natural fruit juice concentrate or the liquid resulting from the resto-
2 ration of water to dehydrated natural fruit juice.
3 (h) "Natural vegetable juice" means the original liquid resulting from
4 the pressing of vegetables, the liquid resulting from the reconstitution
5 of natural vegetable juice concentrate or the liquid resulting from the
6 restoration of water to dehydrated natural vegetable juice.
7 (i) "Powder" means a solid mixture with added caloric sweetener used
8 in making, mixing or compounding a sugar-sweetened beverage by mixing
9 such solid mixture with any one or more other ingredients including, but
10 not limited to, water, ice, syrup, simple syrup, fruits, vegetables,
11 fruit juice, or carbonation or other gas.
12 (j) "Sealed beverage container" means a beverage container holding a
13 beverage that is closed or sealed before being offered for sale to a
15 (k) (1) "Sugar-sweetened beverage" means any sweetened nonalcoholic
16 beverage, carbonated or noncarbonated, sold for human consumption that
17 has added caloric sweeteners and which contains seventy-five calories or
18 more per twelve fluid ounces.
19 (2) Such term shall not include:
20 (A) any beverage containing one hundred percent natural fruit juice or
21 natural vegetable juice with no added caloric sweeteners;
22 (B) any liquid product manufactured for any of the following uses and
23 commonly referred to as a "dietary aid":
24 (i) an oral nutritional therapy for persons who cannot absorb or meta-
25 bolize dietary nutrients from food or beverages,
26 (ii) a source of necessary nutrition used as a result of a medical
27 condition, or
28 (iii) an oral electrolyte solution for infants and children formulated
29 to prevent dehydration due to illness;
30 (C) any product for consumption by infants and that is commonly
31 referred to as "infant formula"; or
32 (D) Any beverage whose principal ingredient by weight is milk.
33 (1) "Syrup" means a liquid mixture with added caloric sweetener used
34 in making, mixing or compounding a sugar-sweetened beverage by mixing
35 such liquid mixture with any one or more other ingredients, including,
36 but not limited to, water, ice, a powder, simple syrup, fruits, vegeta-
37 bles, fruit juice, vegetable juice, or carbonation or other gas.
38 (m) "Unsealed beverage container" means a beverage container into
39 which a beverage is dispensed or poured at the premises where the bever-
40 age is purchased including, but not limited to, a container for fountain
42 2. (a) No person shall distribute, sell or offer for sale a sugar-
43 sweetened beverage in a sealed beverage container unless such container
44 bears the following safety warning and otherwise meets all of the
45 requirements of this subdivision:
46 "SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to
47 obesity, diabetes and tooth decay."
48 (b) (1) The safety warning required by paragraph (a) of this subdivi-
49 sion shall be conspicuously displayed and readily legible under ordinary
50 conditions on the front of the sealed beverage container, separate and
51 apart from all other information, and shall be on a contrasting back-
52 ground. The entire safety warning shall appear in bold type.
53 (2) The safety warning required by paragraph (a) of this subdivision
54 shall appear in a font size and in a maximum number of characters (i.e.,
55 letters, numbers, and marks) per inch, as follows:
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1 (A) For beverage containers of eight fluid ounces or less, the safety
2 warning shall be in script, type or printing not smaller than one milli-
3 meter, and there shall be no more than forty characters per linear inch.
4 (B) For beverage containers of more than eight fluid ounces and less
5 than one liter, the safety warning shall be in script, type or printing
6 not smaller than 2 millimeters, and there shall be no more than twenty-
7 five characters per linear inch.
8 (C) For beverage containers of one liter or more, the safety warning
9 shall be in script, type or printing not smaller than three millimeters,
10 and there shall be no more than twelve characters per linear inch.
11 (c) If the safety warning required by paragraph (a) of this subdivi-
12 sion is not printed directly on the beverage container, the safety warn-
13 ing shall be affixed to the beverage container in such a manner that it
14 cannot be removed without thorough application of water or other
16 (d) No person shall distribute, sell or offer for sale a multipack of
17 sugar-sweetened beverages in sealed beverage containers unless the
18 multipack of beverages bears the safety warning required by paragraph
19 (a) of this subdivision. The safety warning shall be posted conspicuous-
20 ly on at least two sides of the multipack, in addition to being posted
21 on each individual sealed beverage container.
22 (e) No person shall distribute, sell or offer for sale a concentrate
23 unless the packaging of the concentrate, which is intended for retail
24 sale, bears the safety warning required by paragraph (a) of this subdi-
25 vision. The safety warning shall be posted conspicuously on the front
26 of the packaging of the concentrate.
27 3. (a) Every person who owns, leases or otherwise controls the prem-
28 ises where a vending machine or beverage dispensing machine is located,
29 or where a sugar-sweetened beverage is sold in an unsealed beverage
30 container, shall place or cause to be placed, a safety warning in each
31 of the following locations:
32 (1) on the exterior of any vending machine that includes a sugar-
33 sweetened beverage for sale;
34 (2) on the exterior of any beverage dispensing machine used by a
35 consumer to dispense a sugar-sweetened beverage through self-service;
37 (3) at the point-of-purchase where any consumer purchases a sugar-
38 sweetened beverage in an unsealed beverage container, when the unsealed
39 beverage container is filled by an employee of a food establishment
40 rather than the consumer.
41 (b) The safety warning required by paragraph (a) of this subdivision
42 shall contain the following language:
43 "SAFETY WARNING: Drinking beverages with added sugar contributes to
44 obesity, diabetes and tooth decay."
45 (c) The safety warning required by paragraph (a) of this subdivision
46 shall be conspicuously displayed and readily legible under ordinary
47 conditions, separate and apart from all other information, and shall be
48 on a contrasting background. The entire safety warning shall appear in
49 bold type.
50 4. Any violation of this section shall be punishable by a civil penal-
51 ty of not less than fifty dollars, nor more than five hundred dollars.
52 § 4. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed-
53 ing the date on which it shall have become a law.