Fight heats up over New York's soda ban

Critics are taking the new rule to court, saying that it hurts small and minority-owned business.

By Jonathan Berr Jan 24, 2013 6:42PM
The fight over New York City's controversial rule banning the sale of large, sugary sodas has taken a nasty turn.

According to the Associated Press, critics who have challenged the ban in court are arguing that the rule would disproportionately hurt small and minority-owned businesses. Minority organizations in the state, led by beverage makers such as Coca-Cola (KO) and PepsiCo (PEP), are backing efforts to overturn the ban. The litigation is likely being closely watched and may lead to other efforts to restrict soda sales.

Then there's the issue of enforcement. Is New York City going to send health inspectors to dive through the trash cans of every deli in the city? There aren't enough hours in the day or money in the city's budget to make sure the rules are being followed. Odds of someone getting busted by the "soda police" seem remote at best.Image: New York City - David Pedre/Vetta/Getty Images

Preventing the sale of large sugary sodas will do little to combat obesity. For one thing, there is no stopping someone from buying two smaller sodas instead of one large one. Another issue is more practical: Soda consumption has been the decline for almost a decade. Indeed, that's the reason why Coca-Cola and PepsiCo have been adding higher-growth non-soda drinks to their line-ups for the past few years.  

But the biggest beef that critics of the New York City ban have is one of consistency. Why do sugary sodas get singled out for additional taxes when there are many other beverages, such as those offered by Starbucks (SBUX), that are loaded with even more calories? Also, why stop at regular soda? Diet soda may lack calories, but it isn't particularly healthy either.

People should be leery of simple solutions such as raising taxes on soda to solve complex problems such as obesity.

--Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed stocks. Follow him on Twitter @jdberr.

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Jan 24, 2013 9:04PM
This is a joke right?? Banning soda? All the debt, hunger and security issues in the world, and this is what we're worried about? Our tax dollars hard at work again- right.
Jan 25, 2013 12:24PM
For a country that is supposed to be free.... the list for what you can't do sure is getting VERY long!
Jan 25, 2013 12:35AM
THE BOARD OF HEALTH!!!!!!!!  Who are these Power Hungry Dolly DO Gooders!  What is next????  No doughnuts, no gummy bears, No RED MEAT?  Whoaaaaaaa Health Board,  YOU don't have to buy a Super Size Drink, but if I want one BUTT OUT!     Last I checked, I still had consumer rights!
Jan 24, 2013 10:56PM
Super, this has to be a joke. 

If it's not, who is the nitwit that came up with this idea? 
Jan 25, 2013 11:02AM
hey NY it is None of your Fkn business what I want to drink!!!!!
Jan 25, 2013 4:29PM
Why does the government feel they can tell us what to drink and how much???!!!  Everyone has heard that alot of sugar is not good for you. However, if the people still choose to drink the sugary drinks- that's their decision & CHOICE!!!! What about tobacco/ alcohol / marijuana-- that's terrible for you yet it's not down sized! People know the hazards of drugs & alcohol; yet still CHOOSE to consume those. The government hasn't rationed out cigarettes yet, or is that the next thing to come from DC??
Jan 24, 2013 10:49PM
Sears fired my wife unfairly back around 2005 over one missed day that she thought she had off. She was a good worker that sold appliances for them and always made her commission goals. We haven't been back since and we told all our family members about it and hopefully that will sway them from ever going back. They're getting what they deserve.
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