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New York’s Big Soda Ban Challenged by Business Groups
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On Friday, Bloomberg reported that industry groups including the American Beverage Association, the National Restaurant Association, and the National Association of Theatre Owners of New York State have filed an Article 78 petition at the New York State Supreme Court against NYC’s Big Soda ban. In the petition filed on Thursday, the petitioners termed the New York city’s Board of Health’s ban on large sugary drinks as “unprecedented interference” with consumer choice. The petition claimed that the city authorities had overreached themselves in imposing the ban and were ignoring the rights of citizens to make their own choices.

The petition alleges, “The ban at issue in this case burdens consumers and unfairly harms small businesses at a time when we can ill afford it …. Defendants do not have the legal authority to adopt this beverage ban, and it is arbitrary and capricious in its design and application.”

On the other hand, Marc LaVorgna, a spokesman for the mayor of New York, stated in an e-mailed statement, “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.”

  
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Claiming the lawsuit was expected, LaVorgna wrote, “This predictable, yet baseless, lawsuit fortunately will help put an even greater spotlight on the obesity epidemic, the only preventable public health issue getting worse in America.”

The ban was approved by city authorities following Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s plan to limit the sales of sugary soft drinks to 16 ounces a cup in restaurants, movie theaters, stadiums, and arenas. However, convenience stores and groceries have been kept outside the purview of the ban, which is expected to come into effect from March next year.

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