Nanny Bloomberg bans large sodas in New York City
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Nanny Bloomberg bans large sodas in New York City

May 31, 2012, 11:01 am
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According to the New York Times,  New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.

The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.

 The Bloomberg administration  has championed a series of aggressive regulations, including bans on smoking in restaurants and parks, a prohibition against artificial trans fat in restaurant food and a requirement for health inspection grades to be posted in restaurant windows, along with calorie count for menu items.

Mayor Bloomberg's heavy-handed efforts to promote healthy living are nothing new. He's already taken on many of life's most enjoyable vices, including smoking, salt, alcohol, and trans-fats. The Bloomberg administration had made previous, unsuccessful efforts to make soda consumption less appealing. The mayor supported a state tax on sodas, but the measure died in Albany, and he tried to restrict the use of food stamps to buy sodas, but the idea was rejected by federal regulators.  

When the mayor imposed his ban on smoking I made this comment in an article in Jornal:

These crusaders take small bites, eating away, bit by little bit, our right to decide these questions for ourselves. If the Mayor can tell a restaurant not to put trans fat in the meal it serves, what is to prevent him from prescribing the size of the portions they serve? Rather than putting a label on food spelling out the calories, the dietitian-in-Chief can ram through a law setting a legal limit on the size of portion the restaurant is allowed to serve.

When the mayor pushed through a ban on the use of Trans fat in restaurant food he said the ban is “not going to take away anybody’s ability to go out and have the kind of food they want. . . . We are just trying to make food safer.”  It’s for our own good. But who appointed the Mayor director of menu development and dietitian-in-chief? This is utterly tyrannical. First it was Trans fat, then cigarette smoke and now sodas.

 Even so called good foods can put our health at risk. And the only way to control our intake is to limit the portions we consume. Does this mean that nanny Bloomberg will soon be after the food on our kitchen table?

Author: Reynold Mason
Reynold N. Mason teaches law courses at Zenover Educational Institute In Atlanta, Georgia. He has been a judge on New York City Civil Court and, a Justice on New York State Supreme Court. Mason has been an adjunct professor of law at Medgar Evers College and Monroe College in New York. He has authored several legal opinions published in New York Miscellaneous Reports and New York Official Reports as well as the New York Law Journal. He lives in Atlanta.
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