(Good Medical) – A US court of appeal blocked a San Francisco law on Thursday imposing health warnings on soft drinks and other soft drinks, allowing the US beverage industry to fight for to defend oneself.
The eleven judges of the US Circuit's 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that the city's ordinance violated the trade speech protected by the US Constitution.
"The required warnings therefore offend the rights of First Amendment plaintiffs by cooling the protected speech," wrote the judges, granting a preliminary injunction preventing the law from taking effect.
The judges said that beverage makers could suffer "irreparable harm" if the law were enforced, as the warning would "swallow" the other visual elements of advertising.
The San Francisco prescription is part of a national effort to reduce the consumption of soft drinks and other high calorie beverages that, according to medical experts, are largely responsible for the health and safety of people. epidemic of obesity in children.
In recent years, many American communities have imposed taxes on sweetened beverages, adding a surcharge of up to 1.75 cents per ounce (29 milliliters). At this rate, the cost of a 12 ounce can of soda would increase by 21 cents.
The beverage industry opposed these measures, claiming that they hit hardest at working families and small businesses.
The order adopted by San Francisco in June 2015 required ads on billboards and posters within the city limits to include a warning that consumption of high-sugar beverages contributes to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay.
A smaller panel made up of three 9th judges blocked the law in 2017, saying it unfairly targeted a group of products. In January 2018, all 11 judges of the court agreed to re-examine the case.
The American Beverage Association, which requested the preliminary injunction in 2015, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Thursday's decision.
San Francisco city prosecutor Dennis Herrera, whose office defended the law in court, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Report by Tina Bellon in New York; Edited by Sonya Hepinstall