Cheers From The Soda Crowd
New York City's mayor Michael Bloomberg introduced the ban last year to combat what he viewed as a culprit in the growing battle against obesity.
However, the USDA argued that such a program would be too difficult to manage.
Bloomberg expressed his disappointment in a statement:
We think our innovative pilot would have done more to protect people from the crippling effects of preventable illnesses like diabetes and obesity than anything being proposed anywhere else in this country - and at little or no cost to taxpayers.
The decision was met with enthusiasm by the soda industry and advocates for the poor.
New York City Coalition Against Hunger's Joel Berg says, "This proposal was based on the false assumption that poor people were somehow ignorant or culturally deficient."
Would Banning Soda Have An Impact?
The Washington Post disagrees that money alone would stop people from consuming sugary beverages.
The correlation between soda price and consumption would go down slightly, but according to a USDA report, the effect on junk food would be more slight than the effect on healthier food, like fruits and vegetables.
Another paper points out that decreased consumption would eventually lead to decreased prices of soda, which could negatively effect the non-food stamp population.
Continuing The Fight
Nonetheless, the decision was met with disappointment by others in the health field, like New York City health commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley. Farley calls into question how important fighting obesity was to the USDA.
Bloomberg says he is determined to continue the fight, despite the rejection.
"New York City will continue to pursue new and unconventional ways to combat the health problems that hurt New Yorkers and Americans from coast to coast," he says.
- Feds nix proposal to ban food stamps for sodas (CBS News)
- U.S. Rejects Mayor's Plan to Ban Use of Food Stamps to Buy Soda (New York Times)