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State Wants School Soda Ban

The state Senate is trying to curb childhood obesity by phasing out the serving of soft drinks to students at California schools starting in 2005.

Senators voted 22-15 today to send the Assembly a bill by Senator Debra Ortiz that would ban the sale of carbonated beverages to elementary and middle school students beginning September 1st, 2005. The prohibition would kick in for high schools on September 1st, 2006.

In place of soda, schools could sell students milk, bottled water, fruit juice and fruit-based drinks that are at least half fruit juice and have no added sweeteners. Middle schools and high schools could also offer students sports drinks that replace electrolytes and contain no more than 42 grams of added sweeteners per 20 ounces of fluid. The bill would allow the sales of sodas more than a half hour before or after school at, for instance, school athletic events or to help student fund-raising campaigns.