UK & World News
New York City's Giant Soda Ban Dismissed
A judge has nullified New York City's attempt to ban large sugary drinks from restaurants and other eateries.
State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling ruled the mandate was "arbitrary and capricious" and declared it invalid one day before it was due to go into effect.
In his ruling, Judge Tingling wrote: "The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule."
The ban prohibited the sale of non-diet soda and some other sugary beverages in containers bigger than 16 ounces (a half litre), and applied at places ranging from pizzerias to sports stadiums. Supermarkets and convenience stores would not be impacted.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who championed the ban as a way to tackle rising obesity, faced staunch opposition from the American Beverage Association and other business groups who sued the city over the plan.
Opponents called the law an illegal overreach that would infringe upon consumers' personal liberty.
Mr Bloomberg says the city will appeal the judge's ruling, saying the decision is "clearly in error".
City officials called the size limit a pioneering move for public health. They point to the city's rising obesity rate - about 24% of adults, up from 18% in 2002 - and to studies tying sugary drinks to weight gain.
City Health Commissioner Dr Thomas Farley said care for obesity-related illnesses costs government health programmes about $2.8bn a year in New York City alone.
Critics said the measure is too limited to make a meaningful impact on New Yorkers' waistlines. But they said it would take a bite out of business for the eateries that have to comply.
Beverage makers had expected to spend about $600,000 changing bottles and labels, movie theatre owners feared losing soda sales that account for 20% of their profits.
Delis and restaurants would have had to change inventory, reprint menus and make other adjustments, according to court papers.
The city said that while restaurant inspectors would start enforcing the soda size rule in March, they would not seek fines - $200 for a violation - until June.
Related Stories: New York Tries To Ban Giant 'Big Gulp' Drinks
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