Inside the New York City Battle on Banning Large Sugary Drinks

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By Silvana Peters | June 5, 2014 12:54 PM EST

New York City officials have elevated the battle of the big-soda to the state's highest court on Wednesday. A State attorney argues that the city's local Board of Health has within its power to ban products that could contribute to health risks.

Officials urge the Court of Appeals in Albany to reinstate the ban which has already been denied by the lower courts because it should have been adopted by the elected City Council and not the health department.

Fox News recalls that in 2012 a ban against sugary drinks over 16 ounces was banned the same month it was set to be effective.

"The largest source of added sugar in the American diet, 40 per cent of added sugar comes from sugary drinks," said Assistant Corporation Counsel Richard Dearing. He further states that the drinks provide no nutritional value and don't fill anyone due to its empty calories, "when you consume calories from sugary drinks, you don't reduce other caloric consumption."

On the other site, the ban opposition argues attorney Richard Bress, representative of the American Beverage Association and other opponents of the proposed ban argued that the Health department is extending its mandated authority and cites "only the City Council or the Legislature could take such actions," quotes NY Daily News.

"A government body has taken it on to itself to have government intrude, in a way, in peoples personal decisions," continued Bress.

One of the main concerns of the panel of judges include the length of the board's power. Judge Eugene Piggott Jr. inquired on what would be next. "Where would you draw the line?" questioned Piggot. "If Burger King had triple burgers could you say you only have one?"

Dearing also cites that it isn't even technically a ban, it's more of a limit on the allowable cup size and the argument is not random or arbitrary, it's based on empirical scientific findings.

Speaking on the issue, Mayor de Blasio's provided the following statement:

"The city's proposal to cap the size of sugary drinks responds to the alarming obesity and diabetes crisis that so disproportionally affects minority communities in New York City. We are hopeful that the State Court of Appeals will respect the expertise and authority of the Board of Health and its public health professionals and allow the city to move forward with a sound policy that can save the lives of many New Yorkers."

This is a critical issue for New York as it will affect a number of businesses as well as dabble on the health and lifestyle choices available to residents. It may also begin a precedent of local authority regulating other food related options.

A decision by the Court of Appeals is expected by next month

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