Soda Ban Banned by State Judge
by Beatrice Liu
Mar 13, 2013 | 1886 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
On Monday, a state judge overturned the soda ban that was supposed to go into effect this past Tuesday, and would have restricted all restaurants and fast-food chains from selling sugary drinks over 16 ounces.

The soda ban caused a lot of concern among restaurant owners, since the ban could lead to a potential loss in revenue.

“I will lose a lot of money,” said Nomi Shaq of Singa’s Pizza in Sunnyside. “I have a lot in stock right now,”

Similar to Shaq, many local takeout places said they will suffer significantly from the ban, since they are not allowed to sell two-liter drinks with family meals, something that customers highly demand.

The ban on large sugary drinks was first proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg as a way to combat obesity in the city. It was approved by the Board of Health last week.

The sudden approval left the food industry in a frenzy, especially for places with a large stock of soda and other sugar-sweetened drinks. Even popular franchises such as Dunkin’ Donuts will have to change the way they serve their customers if the ban were to take effect.

For instance, employees would not be allowed to add sugar or sweetened-flavored syrups to large and extra large coffees; rather customers would have to do it themselves.

Bars and certain clubs would also be hurt by this new ban, since carafes that are used to carry mixers would have to be changed because they are over 16 ounces.

Critics of the ban also argue that it only targets restaurants, leaving places such as grocery stores and even 7-11 with its oversized Big Gulps out of the picture.

But not everyone was concerned about the ban before a judge put a halt to it.

An assistant manger of Monica’s Café in Astoria didn’t show much concern and said, “We serve our drinks in column glass, which is 10 ounces. Our sodas comes in 8-ounce bottles, and all of our beverages are under 16 ounces.’

Similarly, the cashier at Martha’s Country Bakery in Forest Hills also wasn’t very worried, saying We probably have to change the size of the cup, the 20 oz. are going to be changed.”

“There’s a lot of question with business regarding the practical implications,” said Lyle Sclair, executive director of the Bayside Village BID. “Small mom-and-pops can’t figure out with what’s going on. It’s a double whammy for small businesses because they don’t have anything to fall back on.”

Following the judge's decision, Bloomberg said the city would continue to push for the ban, and that society's acceptance of larger and larger sugary drinks was causing a health epidemic in the city and across the country.

“Remember, for many years, the standard soda size was 6 ounces – not 16, it was 6,” the mayor said. “Then it was 12 ounces, and people thought that was huge. Then it became 16, then 20 ounces.

“We believe it’s reasonable to draw a line,” he said, “and it’s responsible to draw a line right now.

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