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Industry Hails Court Ruling on NYC Soda Ban

The New York Supreme Court Appellate Division has upheld an earlier decision striking down a New York City ban on sales of sugary sodas and other sweetened beverages in 16-ounce containers or larger, elating beverage industry groups.

“Our voices were heard!” cheered New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, a coalition of local small businesses and residents. “New Yorkers have the right and ability to choose for themselves what they eat or drink.”

“Pleased” that the lower court’s decision was upheld, the Washington, D.C.-based American Beverage Association noted, “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.”

The Tuesday ruling affirmed Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling’s March decision that the ban arbitrarily affected only some sugary beverages and some places that sell them, such as movie theaters and convenience stores, noting that the city’s board of health, in imposing the ban, had “overstepped the boundaries of its lawfully delegated authority.”

Not everyone was satisfied with the appellate division’s ruling, however. New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, the driving force behind the ban, has pledged to appeal the decision to “continue the fight against the obesity epidemic,” according to NBC News.

“Out-of-control serving sizes for soda and other sugar drinks are fueling an epidemic of obesity and diabetes,” observed Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of Washington-based advocacy group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which backs the ban. “Ratcheting down those sizes should be part of any serious, comprehensive effort to bring these diseases under control. We're glad that Mayor Bloomberg and the city’s health department will appeal [the] decision. In fact, we hope that other cities and counties will use their regulatory authority to similarly cap soda serving sizes and implement other measures to curb consumption of these harmful products.”

Dr. Jane L. Delgado, president and CEO of the Washington-based National Alliance for Hispanic Health, was equally emphatic in her support of the ban, asserting that the appellate division’s ruling “fails the health of New Yorkers. The beverage industry’s strategy of obstruction through legal challenges is preventing implementation of a commonsense approach to healthy environments.”

According to Delgado, limiting serving sizes of sweetened beverages “is a modest and reasonable policy that deserves to be tried. It could save lives and decrease the burden of disease, including type 2 diabetes that affects one in 10 adults in New York City.”

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