Foodservice Equipment Reports

NYC Soda Ban Fizzes Out

New York City’s ban on big sodas officially is dead. The state’s highest court has refused to reinstate the city’s controversial limits on sales of jumbo (more than 16 oz.) sugary drinks.

The New York State Court of Appeals ruled on June 26 that the city’s Board of Health “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” in enacting the proposal.

The decision is a major defeat for public health advocates who link high-calorie beverages to the nationwide epidemic of obesity, but it also has implications for other high-profile health initiatives. The city’s Board of Health has been the primary engine behind bans on trans fats in restaurants and posting calorie counts on menus.

The jumbo soda ban was opposed by a majority of New Yorkers, but it kicked off a global debate about soda consumption. Still, questions swirled around the ban’s fairness and whether it would work. Only some eating establishments would have been affected by the ban, including quick-service restaurants, delis and movie theaters; c-stores and grocery stores were not covered by the ban. It also limited the scope of which drinks were regulated; sports drinks and sweetened teas were included, but milkshakes, fruit juices and alcoholic beverages were not.

The National Restaurant Association called the decision “a victory for the city’s restaurants and suppliers.”The NRA had joined the American Beverage Association in a court challenge to the ban, claiming it was arbitrary and subjected operators to a standard that competitors, such as grocers and c-stores, didn’t have to meet.

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