Both sides in the bitter battle over sugary drinks will be out in
force today at a public hearing on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's
proposal to limit the size of large sugary drinks to 16 ounces at
restaurants, movie theaters and other eateries for health reasons.
The New York City Board of Health is scheduled to vote on the measure Sept. 13. The hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET today.
Bloomberg proposed the ban in May, opponents have accused him of trying
to institute a "nanny state" with far-reaching government controls that
infringe on individual choice. City officials, meanwhile, argue they
are trying to save lives in the face of an obesity epidemic that is
killing New Yorkers and costing $4 billion a year.
The mayor said Monday that an estimated 5,800 New Yorkers will die this year because they are obese or overweight.
The proposal would:
a maximum size for sugary drinks: Non-alcoholic sugary drinks may not
be offered or sold in cups or containers that can contain more than 16
- Set a maximum size for self-service cups: Food
service establishments may not offer or sell self-service cups that can
contain more than 16 fluid ounces.
- Set a fine for violations: No more than $200 for each violation as described in the proposed rule.
proposal would apply only to food carts and to establishments regulated
by the city's Health Department, including restaurants, sports arenas
and movie theaters.
Grocery stores, drug stores and some convenience stores are regulated by the state and would not be affected.
The soft drink and restaurant industries are strongly opposed to the proposal, as are some libertarian groups.
At a protest rally Monday, The New York Times reports,
industry officials were joined by members of the City Council and union
workers, several of whom held placards reading: "I can make my beverage