As this issue goes to press, a judge has thrown out New York City’s ban on large sugary drinks, which restricted sales of full-sugar drinks, such as soda and sweetened tea, to 16oz per serving. The judge determined that the city had overstepped its regulatory powers. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the city will appeal the ruling, contending that the ban is an essential element of the city’s efforts to combat the growing obesity epidemic.
However, the judge’s decision came just days before the ban was set to take effect, and it essentially leaves a number of establishments in something of a beverage limbo. Many have already stocked smaller serving cups and glasses to comply with the law, not to mention revamped menus, while others have installed signage indicating that their servers and baristas would not be allowed to add sugar or other sweeteners to coffees, teas and other drinks. Nevertheless, Reuters reports many of the city’s eateries experienced no changes to their practices at all, as they had no plans of complying anyway—at least, not until the city began enforcing the law with fines—which was not to begin until June, at the earliest.
With the ban at least temporarily halted, Bloomberg plans to urge restaurants to comply voluntarily with the spirit of the law. He contends, “Businesses have a moral obligation to stop doing things they know are harmful to the health of their customers.”