The ban on large sodas in New York was scheduled to come into effect from Tuesday. However, on Monday, state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling in Manhattan said that the ban could have applied only to businesses like restaurants that are under the purview of the health department. He invalidated the law.
Citing several loopholes in the law championed by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the court observed the ban “is arbitrary and capricious because it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city, it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories on suspect grounds, and the loopholes inherent in the rule … serve to gut the purpose of the rule.”
The city administration has gone into damage control and city lawyers have said they would appeal the decision. Counsel Michael Cardozo said the rule was needed to combat the obesity epidemic. He stated, “We plan to appeal the decision as soon as possible, and we are confident the Board of Health’s decision will ultimately be upheld.”
The regulation, now stalled, would have prohibited food establishments from selling any sugary drink larger than 16 ounces. Each infringement attracted a $200 fine.
However, the court observed that the law, passed to combat the obesity epidemic did not apply to grocery and convenience stores, and therefore, was clearly insufficient to fulfill its purpose.
The court also observed that giving the health board such sweeping authority could negate the separation of powers between the executive and the legislature branches of the city government.
Expectedly, people who love sugary drinks, as also beverage companies heaved a sigh of relief, because whether or not the ban would have led people to drinking sugary drinks less, it would have certainly made them spend more by buying multiple cans instead of buying a single one.