Bloomberg Soda Ban: Board Of Health Eyes Popcorn And Milkshakes

By: CBS Posted By: Stephanie Schultz
By: CBS Posted By: Stephanie Schultz

(CBS News) While the New York City Board of Health approves of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's plan to cut all large sugary drinks from New Yorker's diets, some members are taking issue with one major point: They don't think the plan goes far enough.

As HealthPop previously reported, Bloomberg has proposed a ban of all sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces throughout the city's restaurants, street carts and stadiums. Only grocery stores and convenience stores would be exempt, as well as drinks that natural fruit juices and drinks with over 50 percent milk. This means while a Big Gulp would still be allowed to be sold at 7-11s, but movie theaters will have to get rid of their larger options. Those businesses who do not comply would face $200 fines.

The 11-member health panel met on Tuesday in Queens and approved the plan. A public hearing on the issue on July 24, with a final vote is scheduled for Sept. 13. If approved, the new regulations would go in effect on March 2013.

Certain members spoke up, however, saying that the proposal should include other items. Board member Bruce Vladeck questioned why large tubs of popcorn were not included in the ban, according to the New York Daily News. Another member, Dr. Joel Forman, pointed out that even 100 percent juice and milk-containing beverages have large amounts of calories and should not be excluded.

While Dr. Kenneth Popler, board member and president of the Staten Island Mental Health Society, recognized that it would infringe on New Yorkers' rights, he felt that the health benefits were worth it, the Wall Street Journal reported. Obesity has led to 5,800 deaths a year in New York City and costs taxpayers $4 billion, according to statements presented at the meeting.

Others felt that one of the major problems of the plan is that it may have a negative economic impact on poor communities.

"We are targeting the low-income small business rather than the big company," board member Dr. Sixto Caro said according to the Wall Street Jouranl.

Already companies like Starbucks are worried that the ban will affect some of their drinks, including the Frappuccino, according the New York Times. Because many of the amounts of ice, sugar and milk differ in each drink, it makes banning a certain size across the board for the company tricky. The city has recognized that Starbucks' drinks are one of the specific questions that are likely to come up if this become law.

Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the New York Restaurant Association, attended the meeting and told the New York Daily News he didn't approve of the changes, and his group is considering legal action.

"We don't know if next it'll be 16 fries on a plate or only one hot dog a day," Mosel said to the New York Daily News.

The plan has polarized the city. According to a recent poll of 500 New Yorkers, 53 percent said the proposal is a bad idea, HealthPop reported. Many said that they didn't think the plan would help people lose weight, and more than half had never bought a beverage size that would be banned under the proposal.


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