by Brandi Savitt – March 11, 2013
The NYC Soda Ban
Heard about New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg’s war to fight obesity by banning the sale of soda and sugary drinks over 16oz? Well, tomorrow was supposed to be first official day that the ban went into effect – that is until about an hour ago!
This highly controversial law has sparked debates across the country – in hope or fear of what may come to other cities in the near future. While the media has focused on health concerns and consumer rights surrounding the issue of whether government has the right to impose restrictions on what we eat and drink, the question has remained – what will it all cost store owners and consumers?
But in an unexpected twist, just moments ago, Justice Milton A. Tingling Jr. of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan blocked the city from putting the rules into effect or enforcing them come tomorrow. According tot the New York Times, the judge stated that “it applies to some but not all food establishments in the city,” and “it excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories.”
With Mayor Bloomberg vowing to quickly challenge the last minute ruling, the controversy has heightened even more. Here’s what you need to know!
Under the law, any city regulated eating establishment won’t be able to sell any soda or other sugary beverages in containers over 16 oz. This includes: sit down restaurants, fast food chains, cafes, movie theaters, stadiums, bowling allies, concession stands, food carts and trucks, and delis that have a large prepared food section or buffet. If the law goes into effect, it would mean no pitchers of soda for the table at the pizza joint, nor will you be able to buy a two liter for the family when ordering in.
Grocery stores, drugstores, bodegas, and convenience stores are all regulated by state rather city law, and therefore are exempt from the restrictions. Meaning, a slurpee lover could still purchase a Big Gulp at a 7 Eleven.
Also, excluded from the sugary drink restriction are juices, diet sodas, anything containing 50% milk, and alcoholic beverages. While it is unclear if a venti size Starbucks Frappuccino has enough milk to be exempt, a good old fashioned milkshake would definitely be A.O.K. – as would a pitcher of Margaritas… See why people are confused?
The Cost for Restaurants, Chains & Food Vendors
One reason Judge Tingling has ruled to stop the law from going into effect – it’s not fair to everyone in the food industry. Those affected would have to change every menu, change their cup and glass inventory, change recipes, retrain baristas, reprice, and reprogram cash registers. That could mean tens of thousands of dollars in costs for each storefront – let alone a chain. –Currently, the smallest fountain drink you can get at McDonald’s is 16oz!
The Cost For Consumers
As consumers, we’ve been conditioned to receive financial perks for buying more of something. So, if a 16oz soda costs $3 at a movie theater, the 32oz upgrade may only cost a dollar more. Whether you’re buying that 32oz for yourself, or to share, under Bloomberg’s law you’d have to buy two 16oz drinks instead – and that’s $2 more…
Education or Dictatorship?
Being a fellow heath nut and advocate on the evils of consuming too much sugar, I can understand the Mayor’s good intentions of wanting to educate the people of his city about the dangers of obesity and nutrition. But does that mean soda, fruit punch, and sweetened ice tea lovers should be penalized – and ultimately have to pay more for choosing to drink or share their favorite beverage in bulk?
How do you feel about Bloomberg’s law and Judge Tingling’s last minute ruling against it? Should the government help regulate what we eat – for our own good – or is that going to far? Tell us what you think!