New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, a liberal Democrat, is coming out strongly against Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s effort to ban soft drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.
The ban applies to soda, but not to fruit juice, milkshakes, alcoholic drinks, or beverages with fewer than 25 calories per 8-ounce serving, like Vitamin Water. The ban would apply to restaurants, and movie theaters, but not to grocery stores. Only bodegas defined as food service establishments would be affected.
The New York City Beverage Association, a soda industry trade group, fiercely opposes the measure, and is being represented by Stefan Friedman, who works for SKD Knickerbocker, several New York City news organizaations reported Thursday. The firm is headed by Josh Isay, the political consultant guiding Quinn's campaign for mayor in 2013. The large-soda ban doesn't require approval of the City Council.
On Thursday, Quinn said that, while she generally supports the mayor's health initiatives, including the ban on trans fats, she opposes this particular one.
"I applaud the mayor, and Deputy Mayor Gibbs and Commissioner Farley for battling the issue of obesity agressively, because it's one of our most significant health challenges," said Quinn at a press conference, pointing approvingly to the trans fat ban, because it made food healthier without limiting food options.
But she said limiting New Yorkers' sugar-soda discretion "seems to be more on the punitive side of things."
Asked whether future mayors should consider reversing the proposed ban, Quinn said, "It's something people should certainly think about."
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