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New York City’s Ban on Oversized Sodas is Dead

New York City’s Board of Health “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority” when it sought to ban the sale of super-sized sodas, the state’s highest appeals court ruled Thursday.

In a 20-page decision, Judge Eugene F. Pigott, Jr., of the New York State Court of Appeals passed on an opportunity to reinstate a ban on the sale of certain large sugary drinks in the Big Apple.

The ban was the brainchild of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and, ever since it was proposed, had become the target of both serious debate over what to do about childhood obesity and fodder for late-night comedians.

Two lower courts had previously struck it down, and the failure to reinstate it at the appeals court means that the city’s jumbo soda ban is dead. The city has no further appeal options.

In Thursday’s ruling, Judge Pigott suggested that if the city’s politicians wanted to take actions that touch the lives of millions, they ought to take their case to the city council. NYC’s Board of Health is appointed by the mayor.

The soft drink industry fought the ban from day one. It would have applied to sodas and other sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces sold by some outlets.

The final appeals court decision came down on a 4-2 vote, with the minority noting the traditional powers the city health board has had for imposing measures to protect public health.

© Food Safety News
  • Gene

    If you simply extrapolate its easy to see how very little thought went into the ban in the first place.
    For example, should I be prevented from buying any food in large quantity as at the large lot stores?
    Can I therefore not buy ten boxes of cheerios at one time? The result would be to curb commerce in a country defined by commerce.

  • It was an innovative way to make a point.

    You could still get 64 ounces of softdrink but you’d have to get multiple containers–pretty much demonstrating how absurd these size drinks are. It was a way of countering the irresponsible marketing of fast food companies, who use oversized drinks as a way of making people feel they’re “getting a good deal”.

    And it definitely sparked discussion.

    The law wasn’t struck down because it was “good” or “bad” but solely because the organization exceeded its authority.