Newspaper Wants Stronger Soda Ban
Sacramento Bee blasts California assembly committee for
weakening school soda ban bill.
Sacramento Bee, July 10, 2003
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The Assembly Health Committee had a chance to make a powerful
statement about the public schools' role in students' nutrition.
But the committee retreated when it came time to vote on Sen.
Debra Ortiz's bill SB 677, which would have barred the sale of
sodas on school campuses by 2006.
At the behest of chairman Dario Frommer, D-Los Angeles, the bill
was scaled back to affect only elementary and middle schools,
leaving California high schools -- where the bulk of
school-based sodas are sold and consumed -- still swimming in
Coke and Pepsi. That will allow the soda makers to continue
duking it out in public high schools, where school districts
shamelessly allow them to compete for and encourage teens'
pop-slurping habits. It's ironic that in the same week one of
America's biggest snack makers, Kraft Foods, announced it would
stop marketing its products in schools, reduce the size of some
individually packaged chips and cookies, and cut back on the
sugar and fat in certain products.
Maybe Kraft found its conscience. Or maybe the company wants to
protect its reputation. Like McDonald's, which has promised to
cut back on unhealthy trans fat when cooking its french fries,
and Frito-Lay, which is looking for healthier oils in which to
fry its chips, Kraft wants to get ahead of growing sentiment
that the country's addiction to some processed and fast foods in
big portions is contributing to bulging waistlines. Nobody wants
to look like an abettor of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
That presumably includes the Assembly Health Committee, though
its reluctance to make California a leader on the soda issue
would suggest otherwise.
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