March 12, 2013 - 18:28 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - A judge's last-minute overturning of New York's pioneering ban on large size sugary drinks has handed a defeat to health-minded mayor Michael Bloomberg and created confusion for restaurants that had already ordered smaller cups and changed their menus, Belfast Telegraph said.
State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling said that the limit (around four-fifths of an imperial pint) on pop and other sweet drinks arbitrarily applies to only some sugary beverages and some places that sell them.
"The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule," Judge Tingling wrote in a 36-page ruling that examined the scope of power that should be afforded an administrative board for regulations. The ruling was seen as a victory for the beverage industry, restaurants and other business groups that called the rule unfair and wrong-headed.
In addition, the judge said the Bloomberg-appointed Board of Health intruded on the City Council's authority when it imposed the rule, citing in part a case from the 1980s which questioned whether a state public health council had the authority to regulate smoking in public places.
Bloomberg, who has championed the ban as a novel measure for fighting obesity, vowed to appeal against the decision.
"We believe the judge is totally in error in how he interpreted the law, and we are confident we will win on appeal," he said. He added: "One of the cases we will make is that people are dying every day. This is not a joke. Five thousand people die of obesity every day in America."
For now, though, the ruling it means the axe will not fall on super-sized pop, sweetened teas and other high-sugar beverages in restaurants, movie theatres corner delis and sports arenas.
The drinks limit follows other efforts Bloomberg has made to improve New Yorkers' eating habits, from compelling chain restaurants to list calorie counts on their menus to barring artificial trans fats in restaurant food to prodding food manufacturers to use less salt. The city has successfully defended some of those initiatives in court.