Multiple business groups filed suit recently against the City of New York in response to its ban on large sizes of sugary drinks. Mayor Bloomberg proposed the ban in September, and the city Board of Health approved it with an 8 to 1 vote. However, many critics are saying that the ban is overly controlling of consumers’ right to choose their own products, and a detriment to businesses as well.
The mayor proposed the ban as a way to cut down on the growing problem of obesity in New York City. However, despite good intentions, the city Board of Health may have overstepped its bounds in passing the law. Critics of the bill, such as the Korean-American Grocers Association and the American Beverage Association, say the BOH is there to enforce, review, supervise and promote existing laws. This action is outside of their traditional function.
As part of the ban, sales of sugary beverages larger than 16 ounces will be prohibited from being sold at restaurants, mobile food carts, and concession stands at movie theaters and stadiums beginning in March 2013. Sellers face $200 fines for each instance of violating the ban, and will begin receiving fines by June of 2013, if the law remains in effect.
This is an unprecedented effort to eliminate the rights of adults to make their own choices regarding what to put into their bodies. Directly banning sales of a certain size of sugary beverage will surely hurt many retailers’ bottom line as well.
Making a product illegal that many people enjoy responsibly is not the answer to ending obesity in this country. Rather than try to ban large sodas, the Mayor and the city should take more proactive measures to educate citizens about making healthy choices and enact programs that encourage physical fitness.
Surveys show that 60% of New Yorkers oppose the soft drink ban. I wouldn’t be surprised at all it is overturned.
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