Bloomberg soda ban: Associations react strongly to decision

Key industry groups have few kind words about Bloomberg's successful push to limit the sizes of sweetened beverages in New York City.

Good luck buying a large soda in the largest city in the United States.

Months after New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed the eradication of super-sized sugary drinks, the ban passed the city’s health board Sept.13, putting business owners in a tough spot financially.

And the associations that represent those businesses aren’t keeping quiet.

“This ban will punitively impact thousands of New York’s restaurant owners – the majority of which are small businesses,” said Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., who is the National Restaurant Association’s Director of Nutrition and Healthy Living, in a press release. She argued that research did not show that minimizing cup size has an effect on obesity rates.

The decision, which, according to a Quinnipac University study, slightly more than half of New Yorkers oppose, is also getting mixed reviews from local groups. “This should not be the most prominent issue regarding public health in New York City right now,” says Javier Lopez of the NYC Strategic Alliance for Health, which has previously backed Bloomberg’s health-conscious initiatives, told

And local activist group New Yorkers for Beverage Choices, which includes hundreds of businesses among its members, spoke out passionately about the decision, referring to its passage as a rubber-stamping. “Proposals like the soda ban discourage new business and hurt our reputation as the dining capital of the world,” said New York State Restaurant Association spokesperson Andrew Moesel.

So what’s next for the ban? It looks like a lawsuit could be one of those options, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It wouldn’t be the first time, however, that Michael Bloomberg has ruffled the feathers of the restaurant industry. In 2002, Bloomberg convinced the New York City Council to ban smoking in restaurants and bars — a ban that was initially reviled, but later lauded and replicated across the country.

The new soda regulations take place March 12, 2013.

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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