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Proposed warnings on sugary drinks a matter of health, justice, proponents say

June 8, 2016

The Baltimore Sun

June 8, 2016

by Wyatt Massey

Customers responded with enthusiasm when Antoine Dow first added a healthy choices menu to his grocery store in 2007. The owner of A & Ms. Dot’s Grocery, at 1600 Druid Hill Ave., began offering protein smoothies and fresh lemonade sweetened with honey to provide an affordable and healthy alternative, he said.

He said that same drive motivated him to testify in front of the City Council Health Committee on Tuesday, in support of a bill that would require warnings about sugar-sweetened beverages on advertisements, menus and other locations where the beverages are sold.

“The bill, if it could stop people from drinking sugary drinks, it could save lives,” Dow said before the hearing, as he stood outside City Hall beside a 20-foot tall blow-up soda can labeled with “Diabetes.”

More than 60 people, including soda distributors, city health officials, local business owners and beverage industry advocates, packed the hearing chamber and waiting room. Those testifying in favor of the bill said it was a health and justice issue, while those against it raised economic concerns.

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