Food Handling Ballot Measure Results for California, Arizona, and Massachusetts

The American Beverage Association spent millions of dollars fighting a ballot question regarding higher taxation on added sugar and sweetened drinks in several California counties and in Boulder, Colorado. However, most bills passed by a landslide in these liberal states. 

Healthy living organizations in Boulder ran advertising stints to convince voters that the taxes will help lower income children make better decisions when it comes to drinks that contain high levels of sugar or other sweeteners that may have negative side effects. Due to the flat rate of the taxes being implemented, they affect low income consumers disproportionately but those tend to be the groups that eat less healthily. 

None of the three California measures specified where tax revenue would be headed but Berkeley, which instituted the first soda tax of the United States in 2014, has spent almost 90% of the tax revenue on nutrition programs in public schools and funding for organizations that focus on public health. The rest is taken by the city for administration costs. Boulder is implementing a 2 cent tax per ounce of sugary drink and the proceeds will go to administration costs, health programs, and to low income families. They expect the tax revenue to reach somewhere around $4 million in the first year.

Another food-related ballot measure that passed in California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada, was the legalization of recreational marijuana sales. Although not explicitly stated in these ballot questions, Washington and Oregon saw the market of marijuana edibles skyrocket after those states passed laws on recreational marijuana. They have been seeing new issues come up surrounding the packaging of these foods and the potential appeal to children so there will most likely be more regulation to come from these states.

For more information on the food codes and other food-related laws by state, please visit these pages below:

California Food Handlers Requirements

Oregon Food Handlers Requirements

Arizona Food Handlers Requirements