Photo: Dan McKay/Flickr
Hours before the new rule came into effect, a judge overturned Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks in New York City. State Judge Milton Tingling called the ban — which would have blocked sugary drinks over 16 ounces from being sold at restaurants, movie theatres, and street carts — “arbitrary and capricious.”
Here’s the part where he sums up the arbitrariness:
The petitioners state the decision to target only certain sugary sweetened drinks is nonsensical as a host of other drinks contain substantially more calories and sugar than the drinks targeted herein, including alcoholic beverages, lattes, milk shakes, frozen coffees, and a myriad of others too long to list here. Petitioners also point out the exceptions to enforcement of the Rule whereby certain food service establishments are exempt from complying with this Rules. The effect would be a person is unable to buy a drink larger than 16 oz. at one establishment but may be able to buy it at another establishment that may be located right next door. Furthermore, no restrictions exist on refills further defeating the Rule’s stated purpose.
In the days and hours leading up to the sugary drinks ban, it was shaping up to be a disaster.
Dunkin’ doughnuts and other stores planned to ask customers to add their own sugar and flavours to drinks — a complicated process that was expected to cause delays when the ban went into effect on Tuesday.
There was also disagreement about how to interpret the rules. While Dunkin’ planned to cut large hot chocolates from the menu, Starbucks claimed that the rules allowed large milk-based sugary drinks.
Meanwhile Starbucks planned to continue serving all large sugary beverages until “pending litication” about the ban was resolved. Starbucks “doesn’t want to make any knee-jerk reactions,” spokeswoman Linda Mills told BI.
It’s not clear how the city would have enforced the ban either.
City health inspectors were set to measure drink sizes during health inspections and would have penalised restaurants that violated the ban. But no one knows how significant the penalties would have been, nor how the city would respond to disobedience by a chain as large as Starbucks.
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