The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is expected to vote next Tuesday on an ordinance that would require large grocers in the city to report on antibiotics used in producing the meat they sell, says the San Francisco Examiner. The information would be made public in an effort “to use the power of the consumer to force marketplace change.”
The farm lobby has a reputation for punching above its weight when it comes to federal policy, while the beverage industry usually has prevailed easily in arguments over soda taxes. Their winning records will be tested in Tuesday's general election, when polls suggest agricultural groups will lose referendums in Massachusetts and Oklahoma.
The electoral tussles over 1-cent-per-ounce soda taxes in San Francisco and Oakland are becoming two of the most expensive campaigns in California this year with more than $46 million in donations, says public broadcaster KQED. The American Beverage Association has spent $28.7 million in fighting the taxes, said KQED, noting the nationwide ramification of referendums.
In the San Francisco Bay Area, the beverage industry is spending millions to convince voters that the proposed soda tax will raise their grocery prices, not just the cost of sugary drinks, says Bridget Huber in FERN’s latest story, produced with PRI’s The World.
The grassroots can beat Big Soda, says Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney in an interview about the City Council vote during the summer to put a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on soda and sugary beverages. "Don't be afraid of Big Soda. They are not that tough," Kenney told Vox.
The 21 percent decline in consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) following implementation of a soda tax in Berkeley "has important public health implications, providing I think the strongest evidence so far that a tax would reduce SSB consumption," writes Parke Wilde, an associate professor at Tuft's Friedman School of Nutrition, at his blog U.S. Food Policy. The effect was found in a study published in the the American Journal of Public Health this month.
Voters in San Francisco will decide on Nov. 8 whether to put a 1-cent-an-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and to join neighboring Berkeley and Philadelphia as soda-tax cities. It would be the second ballot in two years on a soda tax in San Francisco with the new proposal having an easier path to passage.
IA San Francisco federal judge ruled that the city has the right to force sugary beverage companies to post health warnings in display ads for their products, says The San Francisco Chronicle. The law, which is the first in the nation, was challenged in court by the American Beverage Association, the California Retailers Association and the California State Outdoor Advertising Association. It will take effect on July 25th.
San Francisco is remodeling its public school cafeterias to make them more attractive to students, according to stories in The Atlantic and on KGO-TV. The idea is to ensure students eat a nourishing meal.
Independent Greg Orman campaigned in typically Republican rural Kansas with the argument incumbent Pat Roberts doesn't keep the state's agricultural interests in mind, says the Associated Press.
A combined $9.1 is being spent to defeat referendums in Berkeley and San Francisco on taxing sugar-sweetened beverages, 18 times more than the $489,000 proponents have gathered, according to published reports.
Mayor Tom Bates of Berkeley, Calif, says the city referendum on a 1-cent soda tax "will definitely be a turning point" in the drive to reduce obesity by making sugary drinks more expensive, say the New York Times.
In Brentwood, a "para-urban" community in Contra Costa County on the eastern outskirts of San Francisco, an amalgam of groups combines to keep 20,000 acres of farmland in production and out of subdivisions, office parks and strip malls, says Kristina Johnson at Civil Eats.
The soda industry is pouring at least $2 million into two city referendums in California that propose a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, says Politico. The votes in San Francisco and Berkeley across the bay could influence national policy on obesity. "If the tax passes in one of the two cities, as polls show it might, it’ll be the first loss for the beverage industry, which has emerged undefeated in more than 30 similar fights in states and cities, from Maine to El Monte, California in recent years," says Politico. Conversely, if the initiatives fail, it may discourage attempts elsewhere.
Several hospitals in San Francisco are working together "to add more fresh, organic and sustainable foods to their patient and cafeteria trays," writes Ingfei Chen at The Guardian.