Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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City Appeals Ruling Preventing Large Sugary Drink Ban

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The Bloomberg administration was back in court Tuesday in an attempt to try and move its controversial ban on sugary drinks forward.

The city is appealing a decision in March that struck down its ban on large sugary drinks, calling the decision "arbitrary" and "capricious."

In State Appellate Court Tuesday, the city's attorney said the Board of Health had a long history of regulating public health, and research has shown that large sodas could lead to obesity.

"Sugary drinks are a major contributor to the obesity epidemic and the health consequence of diabetes," said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. "We absolutely believe that the Board of Health has the authority to put in place a rule that reduces the portion size for sugary drinks as a reasonable and effective response to this problem."

The appellate court questioned whether the administration went around a resistant City Council, going to the Board of Health instead. Council Speaker Christine Quinn, after all, has said she opposes the ban.

Lawyers for the beverage industry said the ban is classic government intrusion. Those pushing the product agree.

"You can't buy 32 ounce, but you can buy multiples of 16? It doesn't make real sense," said John Bacarella of Mariella Pizza. "You're just hurting the little guy over here that is trying to make a dollar."

The court also questioned why milk products, like milkshakes, were exempt, and how a 7-Eleven could continue to sell Big Gulps but another restaurant down the block would have to abide by the ban.

The ban only applies to establishments with letter grades.

Lawyers for the beverage industry would not talk to NY1 outside of court Tuesday, but a spokesperson did release a statement.

"While we commend the city for its commitment to health and wellness, the ban would have arbitrarily and disproportionately penalized small businesses...This is not the way to address the complex issue of obesity," the statement read, in part.

Though the city has requested an expedited timeline for the decision, there is currently no indication as to when the court will make a decision. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP