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Food FYI: New York judge stops soda ban

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March 11, 2013|By Betty Hallock
  • A New York state judge halted Mayor Bloomberg's ban on the sale of big sugary drinks at restaurants, food trucks and other venues.
A New York state judge halted Mayor Bloomberg's ban on the sale of big… (Timothy A. Clary / AFP / Getty )

Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York City ban on the sale of big sugary drinks was halted Monday by a state judge, reported the Wall Street Journal. The move is considered a blow to the mayor's big push for public-health initiatives.

The ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces at city restaurants, food trucks and some other venues (not including convenience stores and supermarkets, which are regulated by the state) was set to go into effect Tuesday.

The city is "enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations," New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling wrote. Tingling called the ban "arbitrary and capricious."

"The simple reading of the rule leads to the earlier acknowledged uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole," he wrote. "It applies to some but not all food establishments in the city. It excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories."

Under the ban, approved by New York's health board last year, the city would have started fining violators $200 per sale after a three-month grace period. Some restaurants already had been gearing up for the change, such as buying new glassware.

Bloomberg proposed the ban as a way to reduce obesity, but the beverage industry had called the law an illegal overreach.

In his ruling, Tingling wrote that the city's health board, appointed by Bloomberg, didn't have the authority to "limit or ban a legal item under the guise of 'controlling chronic disease.'"

The New York Times reported that the Bloomberg administration said it would challenge the judge's decision.

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