Tag Archives: sugary drink ban

Court upholds ruling striking down NYC’s large sugary drink ban

| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

New Yorkers are still free to drink any size soda they want.

On Tuesday an appeals court unanimously upheld a ruling striking down the city’s ban on large, sugary drinks.

In March, a judge ruled the city’s sugary drink ban invalid less than 24 hours before it was set to take effect.

The law would have forbidden businesses around the city from serving sugary drinks with more than 25 calories per eight ounces in sizes larger than 16 ounces. Those businesses would have had three months to comply before facing fines.

“We are pleased that the lower court’s decision was upheld. 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, one of the co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the ban.

The March ruling had drawn an immediate vow from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to appeal it. He, weight loss groups and other supporters had pushed the controversial ban as a way to fight the city’s raising obesity rate.

The mayor called Tuesday’s decision by the First Department of the state Supreme Court’s Appellate Division a “temporary setback” and said he plans another appeal.

“Since New York City’s ground-breaking limit on the portion size of sugary beverages was prevented from going into effect on March 12, more than 2,000 New Yorkers have died from the effects of diabetes,” he said.



Health organizations throw legal support behind soda ban appeal

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office's Flickr/Photo by Spencer T Tucker


The tension between Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the courts over the proposed soda ban are continuing to fizz.

The Mayor’s Office announced that the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and National Association of Local Boards of Health have filed an amicus brief in support of the ban, citing links between the consumption of soft drinks and obesity.

An amicus (literally, friend of the court) is when an outside party files to give their legal opinion on any legal matter.

The first amicus, led by the National Alliance for Hispanic Health argues the scientific link between soft drink consumption and chronic diseases such as obesity, specifically focusing on how it affects underprivileged communities.

The second amicus argues the legality of the soda ban and will be led by the National Association of Local Boards of Health.

“The compelling amicus briefs being submitted [Thursday] further confirm the significant support this important health initiative has among the medical community as well as the community at large,” said Corporation Counsel Michael A. Cardozo of the New York City Law Department. “We believe that the appellate court will find that the Board of Health’s authority to adopt initiatives such as the portion cap rule for the protection of the health of New Yorkers is supported by decades of case law and explicit text in the New York City Charter.”

The two now join Comunilife, Montefiore Medical Center, Harlem Health Promotion Center, National Congress of Black Women, Inc., New York Chapter, ChangeLab Solutions, Rudd Center, Public Health Association of New York City and Public Health Law Center as outside parties supporting the ban.

“The organizations and individuals who have joined these amicus briefs understand the toll that obesity is taking on communities here in New York City and across the nation,” said Bloomberg. “Our plan to limit the portion size of sugary drinks is a sensible step that has won increasing levels of support from the public health community, and these two amicus briefs will help us make our case to the court.”



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.





Queens’ Morning Roundup

| ctumola@queenscourier.com


Tuesday: Overcast. High of 45. Winds from the NNE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Tuesday night: Overcast with ice pellets and rain, then ice pellets and rain after midnight. Low of 36. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of precipitation 90% .

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