US: New York lawmaker warns against fighting energy drinks firms

By | 24 January 2013

A New York country health board has proposed an energy drinks ban

A New York country health board has proposed an energy drinks ban

A New York state legislator overseeing a proposed energy drinks crackdown says he wants to work with the industry and not fight “tooth and nail” with companies.

Legislator William Spencer, who chairs Suffolk County's health committee, said he supports a health board's proposal to ban energy drinks to under-19s but the bigger picture must be considered. “I'm not a big fan of bans and regulations,” Spencer told just-drinks yesterday (23 January). “I'm a fan of responsible regulation.”

In November, the American Beverage Association hit out at the Suffolk County health board's proposal, calling it a “slippery slope”. The five-member board, which does not have the authority to produce legislation, voted in favour of the ban and has written a letter to the county legislature urging it to pass a law.

However, Spencer, who controls the board's funding but does not speak for it, warned against government overreaction to hot-topic issues. “Sometimes the government reaction can be uneffective and reactionary,” he said. “As a legislator, I'm concerned about health, but also about business.”

Spencer, who met with energy drinks companies Red Bull and Monster last week, said it was “good governance” to hear industry concerns and said that he is keen to co-operate with “responsible players”. 

“I think that is a far more effective course as opposed to shutting them out, proceeding on your own, having them fight you tooth and nail,” he said.

He also said he is unable to predict the outcome of the board's proposal but believes regulation banning energy drinks companies sending samples to minors in the post is likely.

Sectors: Corporate social responsibility (CSR), Legislation, Soft drinks

Companies: Red Bull

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