US: Organisations launch legal challenge over New York soda ban
The ban is due to come into effect next March, unless the legal action is successful
A coalition of organisations opposed to New York's proposed ban on large high-sugar soft drinks have filed a lawsuit in a bid to stop the move.
The group, which includes the American Beverage Association (ABA), claim in a 61-page filing that the city's health board has bypassed the "proper legislative process" and usurped the role of New York's city council. The ban on servings above 16 ounces, due to take effect from next March, ignores the "rights of the people of New York City to make their own choices", adds the filing, which was lodged with the State Supreme Court in Manhattan on Friday (12 October).
Mayor Bloomberg's plan has attracted controversy since it was first unveiled in May. In light of the proposal, a campaign group - New Yorkers for Beveage Choices, funded by the ABA, was set up. Last week, the spokesman for the New York group, Eliot Hoff, told just-drinks that 200,000 people had signed up to the campaign since a health board vote was passed last month.
In total, the campaign claims to have the support of around 450,000 New Yorkers opposed to the decision.
Hoff said the group, which also includes convenience stores, restuarants and movie theaters, felt that the process had not been fair, and that there was "nothing to indicate the ban will have an impact". Under the ban, businesses would receive a $200 fine for serving a high-sugar soft drink, in packaged or cup form, above 16 ounces.
However, Bloomberg's chief spokesman Marc La Vorgna has been reported as calling the legal arguments "baseless".
“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 — and impacting the lives of thousands more — unquestionably falls under its purview,” La Vorgna said in a statement, reported by Bloomberg.
He added: "This predictable, yet baseless, lawsuit fortunately will help put an even greater spotlight on the obesity epidemic, the only preventable public health issue getting worse in America.”
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