Court Reconsiders Soda Warning Label Law

An 11-judge federal appeals panel will reconsider San Francisco’s controversial law to curb consumption of soda and other high sugar drinks by requiring health warnings, according to a filing Monday by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

A three-judge panel had previously tossed out the law. But a majority of the appeals court voted to reconsider and allow 11 judges to review the issue.

The American Beverage Association challenged the 2015 city law. It has never gone into effect because it was put on hold after the association filed suit to challenge it.

The law requires a warning notice in advertising that drinking beverages with sugar added contributes to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay. The warning must cover 20 percent of the area of the ad and includes billboards, posters, walls bus shelters and transit vehicles. It does not include newspaper and magazine ads or the beverage containers themselves or menus.

U.S. District Judge Edward Chen refused to block the law in 2016 and found it factually accurate and reasonable. But put it on hold while the legal case was appealed.

The 9th Circuit panel ruled 2-1 that the warning was misleading and not the only source of sugar in Americans’ diet. It struck down the warning law.

Today’s order indicates the city will have a second chance to revive the law.

Case: American Beverage Association v. City of San Francisco, No. 16-16072


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