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Big Soda, Big Backlash

New York City's big soda ban was set to start today, until an eleventh-hour decision by the New York State Supreme Court put a stop to Mayor Bloomberg's plan.

soda pop

Photo: Olli Pitkänen (Flickr)

Critics of the soda ban said it would have been applied to businesses inconsistently. For instance, 7-Eleven and other convenience stores would have been exempt from the rule.

Big Gulp Lives On

New York City’s ban on extra-large sugary beverages was supposed to go into effect today, but a Monday afternoon decision by the New York State Supreme Court (pdf) quashed that.

According to New York State Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg overstepped when he skipped the City Council to bring his plan to ban large sugary drinks directly to the Board of Health.

The ban would have capped the size of sugary drinks at 16 ounces for restaurants, movie theaters and other concessions.

Legal Action

Bloomberg and lawyer Michael Cardozo have said they will appeal the court’s decision, arguing that New York City’s Board of Health sets an example for the rest of the country. The board banned smoking in bars and restaurants in 2002; artificial trans fats were banned from menus in 2006.

Director of legal initiatives at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity Jennifer Pomeranz argues there is no legal difference between banning oversized sugary drinks and trans fats — both contribute to obesity.

Stop Before It Starts

Meanwhile, Mississippi lawmakers are determined to stop a soda bill similar to the one proposed by Bloomberg from ever getting off the ground.

The so-called “Anti-Bloomberg Bill” would prevent counties from creating laws that caps soda sizes or require posting calorie counts — another Bloomberg measure.

Mississippi has one of the highest adult obesity rates in the nation.

Read More:

  • Judge Cans Soda Ban (Wall Street Journal)
  • Soda Warns Backlash: Mississippi Passes ‘Anti-Bloomberg’ Bill (NPR)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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