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February 13, 2013 | By Ricardo Lopez, Los Angeles Times
A consumer group is taking aim at high-fructose corn syrup in soft drinks, arguing that it and other sweeteners are responsible for high obesity rates and health problems because Americans drink too much soda. The Center for Science in the Public Interest filed a petition Wednesday with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration urging the agency to require beverage makers to reduce the amount of high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners. "In the past 10 years or so, researchers have done a variety of experiments and studies that connect soft drinks to obesity" and other health problems, said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the consumer group.
January 27, 2013 | By Beverly Beyette
Big, bigger, biggest is not what cruising is all about in 2013. In fact, most of this year's new ships are designed for river cruising, carrying fewer than 200 passengers. Woodland Hills-based Viking River Cruises leads the way, introducing 10 new longships on its European routes - with eight more coming in 2014. River cruising is so popular, said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor in chief of, that "they're running out of rivers. " Well, not quite, but it's no longer just the usual suspects.
January 15, 2013 | By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times
A perennial target for critics of sugary drinks, Coca-Cola Co. took to prime-time TV broadcasts to acknowledge its role in the fattening of Americans - and to defend itself. In a two-minute advertisement that was to debut Monday night on cable news channels, the world's top beverage company addressed what it called the "complex challenge of obesity. " In a spot it called "Coming Together" - a similar phrase Starbucks Corp. used in the fall to try to get fiscal cliff negotiations moving - Coca-Cola showcased its efforts to be transparent about the nutritional content of its products and to expand its line of drinks with low or no calories.
December 9, 2012 | By Daniel Zingale
Big Soda spent big bucks. That's how it defeated ballot measures to create soda taxes in two California towns. In Richmond, in the Bay Area, and in El Monte, east of Los Angeles, the measures would have added a penny-an-ounce tax on soda. Had the taxes passed, they were projected to raise millions of dollars aimed at funding local recreation and nutrition activities to fight childhood obesity. To bury these towns in an avalanche of billboards, mailers and ads, the American Beverage Assn.
November 8, 2012 | By Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times
Beverage industry forces flexed their political muscle once again Tuesday, dealing crushing defeats to two different sugary drink tax measures in the Golden State. In El Monte, nearly 77% of voters rejected a proposal to tax businesses 1 cent for every ounce of sugary beverages sold. A similar plan fell in the Bay Area city of Richmond, with about 67% of voters opposed. Both measures sparked intense campaigning from the beverage industry, which used a broad array of tactics to argue that the tax would hurt families and small businesses.
October 28, 2012 | By Sam Allen
El Monte Mayor Andre Quintero thought he had a winner on his hands when he placed a measure on the November ballot to tax sugary drinks. The working-class San Gabriel Valley city was facing the possibility of insolvency, and it has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the state. So Quintero was confident he could sell the tax to residents. But then the beverage industry converged on El Monte, turning the race into the most expensive campaign in the city's history - and giving it an increasingly David-versus-Goliath feel.
October 22, 2012 | By Laura J. Nelson and Chad Terhune
Amid increasing scrutiny of the fast-growing energy drink industry, federal health officials are investigating reports that five people have died since 2009 after consuming Monster Beverage Corp.'s energy drinks. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it hadn't established a link between Monster energy drinks and the reports it has received concerning five deaths and another non-fatal heart attack. The government inquiry comes after a Maryland couple sued the Corona company last week in California for negligence and wrongful death in connection with the death of their 14-year-old daughter, Anais Fournier.
September 21, 2012 | By Melissa Healy, Los Angeles Times
As public health leaders step up their efforts to temper Americans' thirst for sugar-sweetened beverages, a new set of published studies has found that removing sugary drinks from kids' diets slows weight gain in heavy teens and reduces the odds that normal-weight children will become obese. Though sodas, sports drinks, blended coffees and other high-calorie beverages have long been assumed to play a leading role in the nation's obesity crisis, these studies are the first to show that consumption of sugary drinks is a direct cause of weight gain, experts said.
September 13, 2012 | By David Lazarus
The war on fat-making, sugar-rushing sodas has begun. New York City's Board of Health, acting on the wishes of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has adopted a rule banning sales of big sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, concession stands and other venues. The regulation puts a 16-ounce size limit on cups and bottles of non-diet soda, sweetened teas and other such bad-for-you beverages. Those needing an intense glucose fix can still obtain big-gulp-size drinks at supermarkets and convenience stores.
August 22, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
SACRAMENTO - Major food growers and processors are pumping millions of dollars into an increasingly hefty war chest to fight a November ballot measure that would require labels on genetically engineered foods. In all, they've collected $25 million, the most for any ballot initiative this fall. Anticipating the need for a high-dollar media campaign to fight the measure, agribusinesses, biotech corporations and manufacturers of some of the bestselling grocery products are bankrolling the effort.
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