NY Supreme Court Blocks Bloomberg’s Limits on Sugary Drinks

Just  hours before implementation, a New York State Supreme Court judge ruled against a ban on large sugary drink in New York City. The decision by Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. blocks the city from putting the rules into effect or enforcing them. The rules limited some food establishments from selling sugary drinks in portions larger than 16 ounces.

Some drinks, like those with a high milk content such as a latte, were exempted from the rule. In his decision, the judge cited the rules’ capriciousness. “It applies to some but not all food establishments in the city,” he wrote. “It excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories.” He also noted that consumers thwarted in their attempt to buy 32 ounces of soda could just buy two 16 ounce portions made the rules meaningless. Finally, he indicated that the NYC Health Department was overstepping its authorities with such sweeping rules.

The Bloomberg administration had given no indication that the rules might be in jeopardy. At a news conference Monday morning, Bloomberg said, “I think you’re not going to see a lot of push back here at all. I think everybody across this country should do it.” The American Beverage Association, fearful the rules would serve as a model for other cities, fought hard against the implementation. But in fact, whether or not the rules ever get implemented in NYC — and the mayor’s administration says it will appeal the decision immediately — the publicity the proposed ban has received has already changed the nature of the debate around the causes of obesity. Bans on sugary drinks are being considered in Los Angeles and Cambridge, Massachusetts, and taxes on sugary drinks are being considered in Hawaii and Nebraska.

Nobody knows whether NYC’s appeal will succeed, but it will surely keep us talking about the issue

Click here to read more in the New York Times.

Sugar Cubes image © Uwe Hermann / Wikimedia.

Subscribe by email to follow the accumulating evidence and observations that shape our view of health, obesity, and policy.