Critics, city debate delaying NYC soda-size rule

It's up to a judge whether a first-of-its-kind size limit on sodas and other sugary drinks will take effect in three weeks.
Associated Press
Feb 21, 2013


Beverage-makers and sellers, seeking to hold off enforcement while a lawsuit plays out, faced off in court Wednesday with city officials. Manhattan state Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling didn't immediately rule or say when he would.

With the regulation set to go into effect March 12, the beverage industry and eateries say businesses could end up squandering money complying with the regulation if a court ultimately throws it out.

"What's the rush? Is the city so worried that one more person is going to gain another pound, or two pounds, or 10 pounds, that they have to come out with their enforcement now?" asked Steven Molo, a lawyer for groups representing Korean-American deli owners and Hispanic-owned eateries.

The city, meanwhile, says there's no time to waste in launching what officials and health experts call a novel effort to lessen obesity with huge costs of its own, measured in health problems and hospital bills.

The restriction "will have significant public health effects, and the sooner that happens, the better," city lawyer Mark W. Muschenheim told the judge.

The city Board of Health agreed in September to ban restaurants, delis, movie theaters and many other eateries from selling high-sugar drinks in cups or containers bigger than 16 ounces. The city plans to start enforcing the rule next month but to postpone seeking $200 fines until June.

Citing studies that suggest sugary drinks are a driving factor in the nation's growing girth, city officials portray the restriction as a portion-control tactic that will help people cut calories without stopping anyone who actively wants more soda from buying another.

The opponents say that it's insulting to suggest consumers don't know what they're doing, and that it's unfair to impose a restriction that applies only to some beverages and some establishments. Because of factors including limits on the city's jurisdiction, the rule doesn't cover alcoholic drinks, milkshakes, coffee drinks or unsweetened juices. Nor does it apply to any sugary drinks sold at supermarkets or convenience stores — including the 7-Eleven Big Gulp, which often is Exhibit A in debates about the rise of the supersize.

The business groups say the rule will cost beverage-makers about $600,000 in labeling and other expenses, cut into soda sales that represent about 20 percent of movie theater profits and compel delis and restaurants to make changes ranging from changing inventory to reprinting menus with entree-and-soda deals. They also say eateries affected by the size limit stand to lose business to ones that aren't.

The city calls the claims overstated and says the businesses are getting adequate time to prepare. City lawyers also said Wednesday that restaurants will still be allowed to continue serving 16-ounce drinks in cups that hold slightly more than 16 ounces, in order to leave room at the top.

The critics include heavyweight national beverage, restaurant and movie theater associations, small-business groups and the New York state branch of the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation, an organization of 100 Northeastern groups. The minority advocates say they're concerned that minority-owned delis and corner stores will lose out to grocery chains.

The groups' involvement in the case has stirred some criticism of their own ties to the soda industry, which has given more than $100,000 to the national NAACP and now employs the Hispanic Federation's former president. The groups have called the complaints off-base.




What's next, put a ban on selling double whoppers at BK? Seriously, the problem isnt what people are eating its what they do after they eat, video games, movies, sleep, GET YOUR LAZY A** UP and do something!

Truth or Dare

How much is this asinine new law costing the N.Y. City Taxpayers to be played out in Court?!

2cents's picture

"from selling high-sugar drinks in cups or containers bigger than 16 ounces"

They should keep consistent in the city on their capacity and make it 10 max, after all "nobody needs" more than 10 right? :)


I prefer to drink 40's.

2cents's picture

My tax stamp came yesterday :)


yet people on food cards can eat at any fast food restaurant and all the candy they want!! the gov't should really start to work on ways they can improve existing laws, rules and regulations before they start on new ones.


I think it's unconstitutional but what do I know. What I don't understand is why "officials" Keep trying to do things like this. It seems obvious to me, but evidently not to them.

BW1's picture

It's simple - with all the headaches of running for office, no one will do it unless they have a deep-seated need to tell other people what to do. Fascism is the natural tendency of anyone who seeks power.


@BW1 or they love being critized all the time.

BW1's picture

No, they can get that far more easily by getting married.


I once heard the pres. of Cleveland Clinic say on TV that 70% of health problems are caused by three things:

Lack of exercise
and Smoking.

Time for the govt. health Nazis to force people to work out?


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

Kottage Kat

Come on
Nicotine and caffine are part of my 7 basic food groups
Getting up in the morning and jumping to conclusions is enough exercise for me
However I do appreciate your input



love it!


me, too. LOL


Just more government and less thinking and common sense to worry about. Dont worry the Dems are going to fix it all.

Straight jackets are next. Dont want to hurt yourself.


Mayor Bloomberg is not a "dem".

BW1's picture

So he claims, but his policies are in perfect alignment with them.

If it walks like a duck....

The Big Dog's back

I thought you right wingers were for state's rights?


sorry, dear, this is a "city" right, not a state right.

BW1's picture

Apparently, you've not heard of the Raich decision. States' rights are not just for the right any more.

In any event, this issue has nothing to do with states' rights.


last time I checked PP, NYC was a city. Bahahahaha

Kottage Kat

States rights
I am in the state of confusion and happy as if I had My RIGHT mind


So my question is can I still get a 24oz diet?

Second Opinion

Don't drink over 16 oz's of soda while the government pays people to stay at home instead of working for the weekly free welfare check. During this leisure time at home they watch TV while playing games on their free Obama phone.

We as a nation are lost...

Pterocarya frax...

I hope y'all realize Bloomberg is gonna be the Republican nominee for Prez in 2016.


Not a fat chance. Won't happen. Spill some more BS why dont ya.


Blomberg is registered as an independent

Pterocarya frax...

Being registered as an independent means nothing. Droopy Dawg Lieberman was registered as a Democrat, and got booted from the party, so then ran as an independent, all the while voting and acting like a Republican.

I am remembering you and the doc's comments here so that in August, 2016 I can say "told you so". Oh I understand why you 2 are so defensive about it, after your beloved party the last 2 times nominated McCain and Romney, but mark my words...


Don't you love the first thing they didn't ban? A LARGE drink of alcohol. Oh, yes, that is much safer than those sugary drinks the Mayor is so fearful of. There is more "sugar" in that giant drink he hasn't banned, than in a large drink soda...and more calories.


How much ya wanna bet that there are vendors on the street selling 32 OZ empty cups w/lids and straws as we speak? Gimme a break. They can't stop the smokin' of MJ or guns in NYC and they're gonna stop POP/SODA sales?!!?....HEEE...HEEE...HEEE!!!!!

Pardon me. I became a 'lil unglued for a time. I found it hard to contain myself, given the story. ;)


"They" don't care about obesity or the things that come with such. It's the money mongers trying to drive up the price of plastics and fossil fuels. "They" see "their" futures deteriorating.


It's nobodys business what we eat or drink.
Next on their list is when you can take a crap.


Mayor Bloomberg says that he's bi-partisan - the worst of both parties.


LMAO. Meaning he alternates between moderate and uber-liberal.



Robin Kelly (D) is supported by Bloomberg's PAC and is running for Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s old seat.