The Center for Science in the Public Interest recently filed a petition with the Food and Drug Administration asking the agency to require a series of rotating health notices on non-diet sodas. The notices would be placed on any drink with more than 13 grams of sugar - a typical can of soda contains three times that much sugar.
Dr. Michael Jacobson led the study for the organization and he found that in 2004, soda companies provided each customer with about 60,000 empty calories. "We are practically drowning in soft drinks. Americans are consuming twice as much soda as they did 30 years ago," he said.
Dr. Jacobson's study found that drinking too much soda also means that people aren't drinking enough water or milk. This is especially true for children and teenagers who are often flooded with advertisements for soda and other unhealthy foods while at school and at home. The suggested notices warn of obesity, tooth decay and other health problems.
The American Beverage Association represents manufacturers and distributors of non-alcoholic beverages. It's president and CEO, Susan Neely, says that food-manufacturing companies already provide customers with nutritional information.
"To ask the FDA for warning labels on sodas or any food product that contain sugar is truly an over-the-top proposal. Where would such a food hit list stop? Candy, cookies, ice cream, and even skim milk and one hundred percent orange juice? All of these items, along with thousands of other food products, could be subject to CSPI's labeling scheme," she said.
In addition to warning labels, the petition also calls for nutritional labels in restaurant menus, a small tax increase on soda and an end to soda sales in schools.