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NYC Soda Ban Goes Flat

NYC Soda Ban Goes Flat

Just a day before New York City was supposed to get un-super-sized on its soda consumption with a controversial proposal, championed by Mayor Bloomberg, to limit the size of sugary drinks served in restaurants, movie theaters, and delis, a State Supreme Court Judge (yes, the New York State Supreme Court gets involved in such matters) effectively stopped that plan. New York state Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling declared invalid Mr. Bloomberg’s plan (which was to start today) to prohibit restaurants, mobile food carts, delis and concessions at movie theaters, stadiums or arenas from selling sugary drinks in cups or containers larger than 16 ounces. As predicted, Bloomberg is none too pleased with this development, as it wrenches the power away from Bloomberg to control policy in his own city. The mayor’s office issued a “tweet” yesterday saying:

“We plan to appeal the sugary drinks decision as soon as possible, and we are confident the measure will ultimately be upheld.”

Obviously the intention behind this proposed ban was to improve the health of NYC residents while greatly limiting their sugar (or high fructose corn syrup) consumption. Under this proposed ban, if you want something larger than a reasonably sized 16-ounce cup of soda (this size used to be considered “large” back in the day) consumers will need to purchase two, or more, cups of their favorite sugary drink. The ban would impose a 16-ounce limit on any sugary bottled or fountain drinks that contain more than 25 calories per 8 ounces. But there have been problems, both logistic and ideological, with this proposal. Some Starbucks enthusiasts say the ban would impact their ability to get their sugary-sweet Grande drinks, and the proposal doesn’t address consumer’s ability to purchase massive quantities of soda from markets, etc. In some respects, the ambition of this ban served to ultimately kill it.

What is your feeling about the ban, as well as the state Supreme Court getting involved in civic matters? Who is in the right? Do you think going the route of education would yield better results? How can we get people to curb their thirst for sodas that are obviously doing harm to the nation?

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Eric Steinman

Eric Steinman is a freelance writer based in Rhinebeck, NY. He regularly writes about food, music, art, architecture, and culture and is a regular contributor to Bon Appétit among other publications.

58 comments

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11:53PM PDT on Apr 3, 2013

Silly Care2 comment limits (oh well, another 20 credits...):

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Good though that Bloomburg started at least the debate & that the companies had to spend some of their enormous profits to defend (though mostly with propaganda -- new definition of Spin the Bottle). We need the jobs the other corporations have decimated.

11:52PM PDT on Apr 3, 2013

Oh geez, what benefit is there to soda? None except to the companies who push it. It's harmful in many ways including being hard on bones, and displacing calories that could be high-nutrient (not to mention the money used for the soda could be used for those more healthful foods).

We already regulate the sale of alcohol and tobacco while pot is illegal to sell at all (especially in a store) & harder stuff such as herion is really not okay (in fact, cocaine was taken out of "Coca" colas years ago which was the start of the addictions to the fizzy drinks). Bodies are not allowed to be sold in most places & even then none of the above are to be sold to someone under 18 & often not under 21.

So why does soda get a free pass, not just at all but in unbelievably stupid amounts?

Worse for those in North America (& that includes Mexico now thanks to the NAFTA) is that sodas are made with HFCS (High Fructose Corn Syrup) which is sourced from taxpayer subsidized GE/GMO crops that have a pesticide in every single cell designed to explode the stomaches of insects... not an insect you say? Well, pesticides were originally designed to take out large groups of people especially in concentration camps such as WWII. If a bug won't (or can't) eat it, then probably we shouldn't either.

Good though that Bloomburg started at least the debate & that the companies had to spend some of their enormous profits to defend (though mostly with propaganda -- new definition o

3:12PM PDT on Mar 21, 2013

I think the Supreme Court was wrong to shut down the ban.

6:12AM PDT on Mar 17, 2013

I'm glad at least someone in New York has some common sense like the judge who halted the asinine ban, at least for the time being. I'm an adult. I think I know how to take care of myself or make a reasonable choice if I want a bigger sized drink or not.

No need to hold my hand moth...I mean government.

6:42AM PDT on Mar 16, 2013

Thanks for sharing

9:56PM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Interesting but we cannot force anybody have healthy food or drinks!

10:53AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Considering that soda is addicting and has a similiar effect on children as crack does to adults, I would be supportive of a soda ban on children. Especially since it messes with a child's brain development.

Soda since it's addictive should be treated as an alcoholic beverage. That would benefit people more than banning soda over a certain size. Make people aware of what soda is, a "treat" just like alcohol is as opposed to try and restrict people from buying a larger size.

2:14AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Thanks

11:51PM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

I see the logic in his plan. It makes it a little harder for people to over-consume soda. I would support the ban. On the other hand there's no real basis for the legality of such a move and the soda companies aren't gonna be happy about it, which I'm sure, is why it didn't pass in the first place. Laws like this and requiring McDonalds to include some raw food on their menu are actually good laws though yes, they infringe on "freedom of selling rights" to some extent. However, supporters of the ban could argue that irresponsible selling creates health problems in the long run, and public health is somewhat within the jurisdiction of the law-makers. I'd support the ban because Big Gulps and super-size sodas are just gluttony anyway. Who needs them? Not the people suffering from weight problems, and the others probably don't order them anyway.

11:13PM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

Unfortunately, a lot of people are going to drink to that---64 oz. Big Gulps and the like, that is...

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