The large sugary drink ban, or “soda ban,” backed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, fizzled out before it even got started.
NEW YORK—Judge Milton Tingling of the New York State Supreme Court ruled that the proposed law, which would have gone into effect on Tuesday, was against the City Charter.
Many businesses have been gearing up for weeks to comply with the ban; buying smaller glasses, and reconfiguring special deals.
The law would have banned establishments that get letter grades from the city to serve drinks larger than 16 ounces that contain more than 50 calories, encompassing a wide range of beverages such as soda and partial fruit juice.
Tingling said in his ruling that the city violated the City Charter, partly because establishments under the purview of the city would be under the ban while establishments under the purview of the state—such as 7-11 stores and its Big Gulp cup sizes—would not be under the ban.
“The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the state purpose of the rule,” Tingling wrote in his ruling. “It is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, and the loopholes inherent in the ruling, including but not limited to no limitations on re-fills, defeat and/or serve to guy the purpose of the rule.”
Much of the language Tingling used was similar to that used by groups against the ban, including soda manufacturers and some small business groups.
“The respondents in this action all state, in some shape or form, ‘There is an obesity epidemic among New York City Residents which severely affects the public’s health’ as the basis for the passage of 81.53,” he wrote. “The words ‘epidemic and ‘obesity’ are neither examined nor explained as much as they are stated as fact.”
“The respondents claim 57.5 percent of adult New York City residents are overweight or obese. Nearly 40 percent of New York City schoolchildren (K-8 grade) are overweight or obese. The latest figures from 2011 show 23.7 percent of New York City adults are obese,” Tingling wrote.
Commissioner of Health Thomas Farley released the following statement:
“Without a portion cap on sugary drinks, it would be harder to tackle an obesity epidemic that kills more New Yorkers than anything other than smoking and causes misery for many thousands more who suffer from heart disease, diabetes and other debilitating illnesses. Sugary drinks are a leading cause of this epidemic. Today’s decision threatens the health of New Yorkers, but we are confident that we will win on appeal.”
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