Tag Archives: National Restaurant Association

Bloomberg confident soda ban ruling will be overturned

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


In a Jackson Heights McDonald’s, the large sodas still flow.

And customers were just happy they still had the choice of ordering sugary drinks bigger than 16 ounces.

“I think people are smart enough to decide what’s good for them and what’s just too big,” said 19-year-old Chris Rojas.

Only hours before it was to take effect, a judge halted the city’s sugary drink ban. The same day, Mayor Michael Bloomberg vowed to appeal the ruling.

In a press conference Monday, Bloomberg cited the leading role of sugary drinks in the obesity epidemic and the history of the New York City Board of Health taking “bold action to confront major health problems” as reasons why the ban is important.

“With so many people contracting diabetes and heart disease, with so many children who are overweight and obese, with so many poor neighborhoods suffering the worst of this epidemic, we believe it is reasonable and responsible to draw a line – and that is what the Board of Health has done,” he said.

Bloomberg also said he was certain that they city’s ban would eventually go forward as planned.

“There are many, many instances where a lower court decision has gone against us and then been reversed. If lower court rulings had always stood, Grand Central Terminal would have been knocked down 40 years ago,” he said. “We’re confident that [the court’s] decision will ultimately be reversed, too.”

In October, the American Beverage Association and six other groups with members affected by the ban filed the suit against the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, arguing that the board did not have the authority to pass the ban.

In his ruling, State Supreme Justice Milton Tingling found that the Board “may supervise and regulate the food supply of the city when it affects public health, but the Charter’s history clearly illustrates when such steps may be taken, i.e. when the city is facing eminent danger due to disease, “ and that hasn’t been demonstrated.

In the suit, the plaintiffs argued that the ban unfairly targets certain drinks and certain food establishments, while ignoring others.

Large-sized non-diet sodas would have been prohibited, but sugary alcoholic drinks are not.
Pizza places would not have been allowed to deliver a two-liter soda to a family of four, but the 7-Eleven chain could sell a Big Gulp to one person.

“If you want to educate people and say listen, the sugar is no good for you, fine. But to ban the two-liter bottle is absolutely ridiculous, said James Coady, co-owner of Cascarino’s, a pizzeria with multiple locations. “Nobody is sitting there and drinking a two-liter bottle and guzzling [it].”




Judge puts stop to sugary drink ban

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

Less than 24 hours before it was set to take effect, a judge has ruled the city’s sugary drink ban invalid, according to reports.

On Monday, Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling put a stop to the law that, starting tomorrow, would have prohibited businesses around the city from serving sugary drinks with more than 25 calories per eight ounces in sizes larger than 16 ounces.

“The court ruling provides a sigh of relief to New Yorkers and thousands of small businesses in New York City that would have been harmed by this arbitrary and unpopular ban. With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City,” said Chris Gindlesperger, spokesperson for the American Beverage Association and co-plaintiffs Teamsters Local 812, Korean-American Grocers Association of New York, National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State, National Restaurant Association and New York Statewide Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.

The ruling, however, doesn’t mean that the city is giving up on its public health  initiative.

“We plan to appeal the sugary drinks decision as soon as possible, and we are confident the measure will ultimately be upheld,” the NYC Mayor’s Office said on Twitter.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, weight loss groups and other supporters pushed the controversial ban as a way to fight the city’s raising obesity rate. But establishments that were subject to the ban, such as restaurants, movie theatres, coffee places and delis, believed it would have hurt them financially.

Those businesses would have had three months to comply before facing fines.





Lawsuit filed against NYC soda ban

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

File photo

A group of business associations have filed a lawsuit claiming that the New York City Board of Health does not have the authority to ban the sale of large-sized sodas and other sugary drinks, said one of the plaintiffs, the National Restaurant Association.

“This lawsuit is about ensuring that the board of health respects the legislative process,” said Caroline Starke, spokesperson for the plaintiffs. “Despite strong and growing opposition from New Yorkers, the proposal was passed by sidestepping the city’s elected legislators.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, weight loss groups and other supporters pushed the controversial sugary drink ban as a way to fight the city’s raising obesity rate.

In September, the Board of Health passed the law, which will go into effect in March 2013. Businesses will have six months to comply and stop selling sugary beverages with more than 25 calories per eight ounces in sizes larger than 16 ounces.

The Barclays Center, the new Brooklyn arena and home to NBA team the Nets, has already adopted the ban and is the first major New York City venue to voluntarily comply with it.

But other local businesses, such as movie theaters, delis and restaurants, worry that the ban could hurt their bottom line.

“The ban is riddled with irrational exclusions, loopholes and random classifications that will seriously harm New York City businesses,” said Starke

Filed in New York State Court, the lawsuit says that the Health Department ignored council members’ objections, and “acted improperly by trying to implement the policy by executive fiat.”

Other plaintiffs include Teamsters Local 812, the Korean-American Grocers Association of New York, National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State, New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and the American Beverage Association.

Responding to the lawsuit, Bloomberg’s press secretary, Marc La Vorgna, called it “predictable, yet baseless,” and compared it to when the city was unsuccessfully sued for banning smoking in restaurants and bars.

For over 100 years, he said, the city’s Board of Health has been making major health decisions, from appointing milk inspectors to banning lead paint to posting calorie counts, which have benefited the health of New Yorkers.

“The Board of Health absolutely has the authority to regulate matters affecting health, and the obesity crisis killing nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year – and impacting the lives of thousands more – unquestionably falls under its purview,” said La Vorgna.