Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Court to hear lawsuit against cola ban

A New York court will today hear a petition filed by the American Beverage Association against the city's plan to crack down on supersized sugary drinks.
In September last year, the city's Board of Health overwhelmingly voted to ban restaurants, street carts and entertainment and sports venues from selling sweetened drinks in cups or containers bigger than 16 ounces.
The size limit is set to take effect, as planned, on March 12. Violations will incur a fine of $200.
However, last week New York City announced a three-month grace period from fines for breaking the law which the city sees as a groundbreaking step in its fight against the rapid spread of obesity.
"Health officials will not seek fines for non-compliance for the first three months," said City's lawyer Mark Muschenheim in a statement.
But the American Beverage Association, in the suit, filed in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, contends that New York City's Board of Health did not have the authority to ratify the rules unilaterally.
It also claims "the Board of Health's decision … usurps the role of the City Council, violating core principles of democratic government and ignoring the rights of the people of New York City to make their own choices".
The 61-page filing says, among other things, that the Board of Health adopted the ban, first proposed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, completely ignoring the public objection of 17 members of the City Council, the legislative body elected by the people.
Michael Bloomberg: A modern-day Don Quixote?
However, the mayor’s office dismissed the lawsuit as “baseless”, maintaining that the Board of Health “absolutely has the authority to regulate matters affecting health, and the obesity crisis killing nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year”.
Runaway obesity rates are threatening not just New York.
report says that the number of obese adults will increase dramatically in every state in the country over the next two decades – and along with it related disease rates and health care costs.
Which means, by 2030 more than half the population in the United States will be obese – if corrective measures are not taken, starting now.
Obesity increases the risk of heart diseases, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic illnesses.
Obesity is defined as having a Body Mass Index above 30, while overweight means a Body Mass Index of between 25 and 29.9.
The ban applies to any establishment, in New York City’s five boroughs, with a food-service license, including fast-food restaurants, workplace cafeterias, delis, movie and Broadway theaters, the concession stands at Yankee Stadium and the pizzerias of Little Italy.
Do you think New York City has acted fairly in imposing the ban? Let's hear your views. Please leave your comments below.

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