San Francisco Drink Ads to Include Warnings

Judge rejects injunction effort by American Beverage Association

SAN FRANCISCO -- San Francisco will become the first city in the United States to place a warning label on advertisements for beverages with sugar added after a U.S. District Court judge in northern California this week denied the American Beverage Association's challenge of the law.

"Plaintiffs are not likely to succeed on the merits of their First Amendment claim, and it is unlikely that they would suffer irreparable harm if the ordinance were to go into effect," Judge Edward Chen said in his conclusion. "Even if plaintiffs had established serious questions going to the merits, balancing of hardships does not tip sharply in their favor."

As a result, beginning July 25, all billboards and ads for sodas and other sugar-added drinks will include the label: “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.”

The American Beverage Association said Tuesday it will review the court ruling and will continue challenging the ordinance in court.

“We are disappointed in the court’s ruling on our motion for a preliminary injunction," said the association, which is largely funded by beverage makers, "as we believe that the city of San Francisco’s mandate violates the constitutional rights of a select group by unfairly discriminating against one particular category of products, based on one ingredient found in many other products."

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