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Judge Stops Large Sugary Drink Ban

9:35 AM, Mar 12, 2013   |    comments
Bloomberg is challenging President Obama and Congress to take action on gun control now. (Photo: John Moore, Getty Images)
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Smaller sodas were set to hit New York City eateries today until a judge stepped in at the eleventh hour to strike down the new regulations.

New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling ruled Monday that the city may not enforce the new regulation, CBS New York reported Monday afternoon. The ban, which was set to take place Tuesday, applied to sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces sold at restaurants, fast food establishments, delis, sports venues and movie theaters. The limits do not apply to milk-based and alcoholic beverages sold at these eateries. Also exempt are sugar-sweetened drinks sold at grocery stories and convenience stores.

Tingling said loopholes in the regulations defeated the limit's stated purpose.

There was to be a three-month grace period before violators could face $200 fines.

Since the sugary drink limits were first proposed last May, health advocates have lauded Mayor Michael Bloomberg for taking a unique step to combat obesity, while consumer groups and advocates for small business owners have accused the mayor of wanting to turn the city into a nanny state.

Center for Consumer Freedom Senior Research Analyst J. Justin Wilson said in a statement he didn't expect the ban to make a meaningful difference, according to CBS New York.

Critics and the American Beverage Association had taken their challenges to court since the Board of Health approved the mayor's proposal in September.

"It would be a tremendous waste of expense, time, and effort for our members to incur all of the harm and costs associated with the ban if this court decides that the ban is illegal," Chong Sik Le, president of the New York Korean-American Grocers Association, said in court papers filed in February.

CBS New York reported that some businesses were holding off on making changes to their menus while awaiting a court to challenge or delay the ban. The judge issued his ruling Monday afternoon.

One day ahead of the rules going into effect, the mayor's office had also released a study that found nine out of 10 of the New York City neighborhoods with the highest obesity rates also were neighborhoods with the highest rates of sugary drink consumption. City officials said the new data is the latest evidence that sugary drinks are harming New Yorkers' health.

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