Judge Blocks NYC's Ban on Large Sodas

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 11 2013 3:29 PM

Judge Blocks Mayor Bloomberg's Ban on Large Sodas

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A 32-ounce soda is filled at a Manhattan McDonalds on September 13, 2012 in New York City

Photo Illustration by Mario Tama/Getty Images

A state judge invalidated Mayor Michael Bloomberg's controversial ban on the sale of large sugary sodas and similar drinks in New York City restaurants this afternoon, less than 24 hours before it was set to go into effect. The Wall Street Journal with the details from today's ruling:

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

The city is "enjoined and permanently restrained from implementing or enforcing the new regulations," New York Supreme Court Judge Milton Tingling decided Monday.
The regulations are "fraught with arbitrary and capricious consequences," the judge wrote. "The simple reading of the rule leads to the earlier acknowledged uneven enforcement even within a particular city block, much less the city as a whole….the loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the state purpose of the rule."
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The New York City Board of Health signed off on what was to be the first-of-its-kind ban this past September. The new measure would have made it illegal for restaurants, movie theaters, and street vendors to sell sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces. The ban was to affect sweetened beverages like nondiet sodas and energy drinks, but didn't apply to fruit juices, milk-based drinks, or alcoholic beverages. While calorie-free diet sodas weren't impacted directly by the proposal, fast-food chains and other establishments with self-service fountains would have been banned from offering cups that exceeded the 16-ounce limit, effectively limiting access to the super-sized drinks that have become ubiquitous in most chains.

The proposal did, however, contain several large loopholes that would have allowed New Yorkers to easily get their sugary fixes from 7-Elevens and similar convenience stores, which were exempt along with vending machines and some newsstands.

The mayor's office is expected to appeal today's ruling.

This post was updated at 3:52 p.m. with additional information.

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