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article imageN.Y.C. Board of Health endorses ban on large sugary drinks

By Leigh Goessl     Jun 12, 2012 in World
New York - A recent proposal regarding a ban on large sugary drinks by New York City's Mayor Michael Bloomberg is one step closer to becoming city law.
This morning New York City's Board of Health met in Long Island City, Queens to discuss the new proposal by the Mayor to ban larger than 16 ounce soft drinks and other sugary beverages.
According to NY1, the meeting resulted in a vote to allow a public comment period, meaning the proposal is potentially moving forward to be solidified into a new law.
The Wall Street Journal reported the 11-member Board of Health panel voted unanimously to publish Mayor Bloomberg's proposed ban and send it for public review. A public hearing is scheduled to be held on July 24, with a final vote set for Sept. 13.
If approved, the ban would apply to establishments doing business in the city. The mandate would affect restaurants, delis, food carts, movie theatres and sports venues that sell sugary drinks, such as sodas. Grocery stores would not be impacted, and fruit juices and diet drinks are excluded from Bloomberg's proposal.
Interestingly, in the banned venues people are free to purchase more than one drink, it would only be the size restricted. Also refills are would be allowed. This begs the question of if the law really would serve a purpose or is it simply a leap towards an increased nanny state? New York City has already put restrictions on trans-fats, salts and cigarettes.
When Bloomberg announced his intention to bring the idea of banning the drinks to fruition, the suggestion erupted in controversy. Some feel obesity has gotten out of control and government intervention is needed while others are not fond of the idea of an increased government imposed nanny state.
“The idea here is you tend to eat all the food in the container in front of you,” Bloomberg had said in an interview on MSNBC last month, “If it’s a bigger container, you'll eat more. If somebody put a smaller glass or plate or bowl in front of you, you would eat less.”
At the time the mayor had also said, “We’re not taking away anybody’s right to do things. We’re simply forcing you to understand you have to make the conscious decision to go from one cup to another cup.”
Bloomberg also pointed to smaller portions that were the norm in years past.
Last month the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released an infographic that outlined the growth of portions over the past 50 years.
Opponents to Mayor Bloomberg's proposal are against the idea for a few reasons. Perhaps the most prominent is the government control factor. Challengers to the ban are asking whether or not this law crosses bounds into the personal lives and choices of citizens. Another point brought up is "what's next" to be suggested to be added onto the banned list?
According to NBC News, Andrew Moesel, a spokesman for the New York City Restaurant Association, said, "Some of the board members seemed to think that the proposal didn't go far enough, and I found that very alarming."
Other issues, as outlined by WSJ, include the fairness of the law. Groceries, and other markets, such as 7-Eleven, would not be applicable to this new law; in the case of 7-Eleven that store is regulated by the state, not the city.
NY1 reported a recent poll conducted by NY1/Marist showed 53 percent of New Yorkers surveyed think the ban is a bad idea; 42 percent support it.
If this ban is approved during the Sept. vote, and some media reports suggest there is a very good chance it will be since there are no health reasons to shoot the law down, the new law prohibiting larger than 16-ounce sugary drinks would take effect in March 2013.
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