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Thursday
May312012

NYC Beverage Ban Panned by Project 21’s LeBon

source: iStock PhotoHe wanted to tax soda, but state lawmakers wouldn’t follow his advice.  He wanted to ban food stamps from being used to buy soda, but federal regulators wouldn’t agree to it.

Now, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is trying to new angle in his war on soda — and he’s likely to win because he appointed the people who need to approve the idea.

Bloomberg announced a proposed ban on the sale of sweetened drinks in containers over 16 ounces in restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and from street vendors.  Bodegas, newsstands, grocery stores and vending machines can still sell all sizes.

The scattered enforcement?  It seems to be due to the fact that this policy — which could go into effect as soon as next March — will be administered by the city’s Board of Health.  All of the board’s members are reported to have been appointed by Bloomberg, and the board’s chairman — the city’s health commissioner — was at Bloomberg’s side at the announcement of the proposed ban.

The key is 25 calories per 8-ounce serving, so it makes diet sodas, water, juices and other beverages are expected to remain legal.  Venti Frappucinos at Starbucks?  Nada.  A big Gatorade from a cart in Central Park on a hot day?  Sorry.  A 40-ounce bottle of beer at a bodega?  Still legal!

Although the plans are not yet set in stone, it would seem to be a big imposition to the New York City business community.  For instance, movie theater owners make a good portion on their profits on concessions rather than ticket sales.  Guess they’ll have to figure out a new angle.  Same for arenas and their concession stands.  Street vendors?  They are the ultimate in small businesses.  You’re on your own, dude!

And for restaurants that can sell a 44-ounce diet soda but not a regular one?  They will likely be limited to handing 16-ounce cups and offer free refills.  That’s easy to do at a busy restaurant, right?

Why is it that Bloomberg thinks that he is needed to make peoples’ decisions for them?  That’s what Project 21 spokeswoman Cherylyn Harley LeBon wants to know.  Cherylyn says:

Mayor Mike Bloomberg continues to lose his way down the “nanny state” path.  First, it was a ban on food containing too much salt.  Now, he wants to ban so-called “super-sized sodas” under the vein of fighting obesity.

We all realize that we have a problem with obesity in this country, but imposing bans in an effort to control behavior is not the appropriate path to take.

As a mom of two kids, I am concerned with providing my kids with healthy, nutritious meals.  But I also encourage more movement and physical activity and less time in front of the television and IPad.

Why not encourage more physical education programs and after school enrichment

activities in our schools and community-based organizations?  Instead the tactic has been to penalize the private sector and force change through punitive measures.

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