NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The state’s highest court should consider New York City’s first-of-its-kind effort to cut down on big, sugary soft drinks, city lawyers argued in a request made public Monday.
The request had been expected after a mid-level appeals court ruled last week against the measure. It would put a 16-ounce size limit on non-diet sodas and other high-calorie soft drinks sold at many eateries.
The four-judge panel of the state Supreme Court Appellate Division last week said the Board of Health was acting too much like a legislative body when it created the ban and said it didn’t believe sugary drinks were “inherently harmful.”
A judge had blocked the size cap in March, shortly before it was set to take effect at restaurants, movie theaters, food carts and some other establishments.
The city sees the regulation as a needed, if novel, step in fighting obesity and related diseases.
“This is a pressing public health matter that deserves careful review by the state’s highest court. The Board of Health must be able to combat the growing obesity epidemic, and there is clear precedent for the board to have that authority,” the city’s chief lawyer, Michael Cardozo, said in a statement Monday.
“Yeah, it’s disappointing. There are an awful lot of people dying from the effects of overweight. It is the single biggest, fastest problem in this country. It’s particularly a problem among poor people,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said last week.
The mayor added that obesity and type 2 diabetes are clearly linked to the consumption of sugary drinks and said since the ban was halted in March, “more than 2,000 New Yorkers have died from the effects of diabetes.”
The American Beverage Association has helped lead the fight against the regulation. The soft drink manufacturers’ group said it’s confident last week’s ruling will stand.
“We look forward to a final resolution of this issue,” the organization said in a statement Monday.
The beverage association and other critics have argued that the health board overstepped its bounds, that the regulation would crimp consumers’ choices and that it’s unfair because it exempts supermarkets, convenience stores, alcoholic beverages and milk-based drinks.
There’s no set date for the Court of Appeals to decide whether it will take the case.
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