Judge Puts Brakes on NYC Soda Ban
NEW YORK -- Don't throw away your 32-ounce cups just yet. A judge struck down New York City's ban on sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces Monday afternoon, one day before the measure was to take effect.
The city's Board of Health approved the ban in September, with nine members in favor and one abstention, as CSNews Online previously reported.
The ban was set to take effect in establishments that earn letter grades from the Board of Health. It did not apply to convenience stores -- despite some calling it a ban on the Big Gulp -- or grocery stores. The 16-ounce limit also would not apply to diet sodas, drinks that contain at least 70 percent fruit juice, dairy drinks containing at least 50 percent milk, or alcoholic beverages.
Manhattan State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling agreed with the beverage industry and other opponents that the rule is arbitrary in applying to only some sweet beverages and some places that sell them, according to a report by the Associated Press.
"The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule," Tingling wrote in his judgment.
In addition, the judge said the Board of Health went beyond its authority in approving the size limit. The rule strayed into territory that should belong to the elected New York City Council, not the board appointed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Tingling stated.
Bloomberg led the charge to ban large-sized drinks as part of his administration's efforts to improve New Yorkers' eating habits. His other initiatives range from compelling chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus, to barring artificial trans fats in restaurant food, to prodding food manufacturers to use less salt, the news outlet reported.
Although the ban was set to begin today, restaurant inspectors were not to start handing out the $200 fines until June.