San Francisco’s Crusade Against Sugary Beverages Just Hit a Snag

The Daily Signal | 2/7/2019 | Staff
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Daren Bakst studies and writes about agriculture subsidies, property rights, environmental policy, food labeling and related issues as The Heritage Foundation’s senior research fellow in agricultural policy. Read his research.

Proponents of government control and coercion suffered a big loss last week.

US - Court - Appeals - Circuit - Leanings

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, well-known for its liberal leanings, helped deliver the blow to those big-government proponents.

The court granted a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of the city and county of San Francisco’s Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Warning Ordinance.

Ordinance - Applies - Ads - Beverages - Eg

The ordinance applies to ads for sugar-sweetened beverages (e.g. sodas) on billboards, trains, stadiums, and other outlets. It doesn’t apply to packaging, among other things.

These ads are required to include the following statement that must cover at least 20 percent of the ad:

Drinking - Beverages - Sugar - Obesity - Decay

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 full panel of the 9th Circuit held that the plaintiffs (the American Beverage Association, the California Retailers Association, and the California State Outdoor Advertising Association) “will likely succeed on the merits of their claim that the Ordinance is an ‘unjustified or unduly burdensome disclosure requirement [that] might offend the First Amendment by chilling protected commercial speech.’”

Ordinance - Example - People - Force - Government

The entire ordinance is a prime example of some people using the force of government to influence what they think other people should eat and drink.

The 20 percent size requirement for the warning is so large that it would dominate any ad and act as a way to discourage any sugar-sweetened beverage advertisements.

San - Francisco - Expert - Support - Size

Even San Francisco’s own expert provided support for a much smaller size requirement, as the court pointed out in its opinion.

This ordinance would effectively be forcing companies to...
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