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San Francisco to ABA: Sugar-Disease Link Is Clear

By Andréa Maria Cecil

San Francisco 

City attorneys offer strong opposition to American Beverage Association motion for a preliminary injunction seeking to strike down an ordinance requiring warnings on sugary-drink ads.

The debate over whether sugar-sweetened beverages cause a host of metabolic derangements is akin to the one on global warming, said Harold Goldstein, executive director of the  California Center for Public Health Advocacy .

“You might be able to find somebody that says global warning isn’t man made … but they probably are the only person,” he joked.

When it comes to linking sugary drinks to health concerns, scientists are no longer choosing the word “contribute,” Goldstein noted, but “cause.”

“The best scientists in the country are now clear that sugary beverages cause diabetes, obesity, tooth decay, heart disease. It’s now  met the scientific criteria  to show that it’s a direct cause.”

Attorneys for the City and County of San Francisco  know as much .

On Feb. 23, they filed a legal opposition in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California to the American Beverage Association (ABA) motion for a preliminary injunction on a  San Francisco ordinance .

. The municipal measure requires health-warning labels on ads for sugary drinks. The  ABA —the trade group that represents the country’s nonalcoholic beverage industry—on July 24  filed suit  against San Francisco. Joining the suit are the California Retailers Association and the California State Outdoor Advertising Association. They claim the ordinance violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment, which guarantees multiple freedoms, including speech.

In its opposition, the city flatly refuted the association’s claim that the ordinance defies the First Amendment.