Appeals court strikes down NYC's big-soda ban

Appeals court strikes down NYC's big-soda ban

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New York City's crackdown on big, sugary sodas is staying on ice.

An appeals court ruled Tuesday that New York City's Board of Health exceeded its legal authority and acted unconstitutionally when it tried to put a size limit on soft drinks served in city restaurants. The panel said the board does have the power to ban "inherently harmful" foodstuffs from being served to the public, but that sweetened beverages don't fall into that category. The court wrote that soda consumption "cannot be classified as a health hazard per se" because it is not necessarily harmful when done in moderation.

The state Supreme Court Appellate Division panel upheld a lower court decision that had delayed the measure before it took effect in March.

The American Beverage Association issued a statement after the ruling saying: "We are pleased that the lower court's decision was upheld. With this ruling behind us, we look forward to collaborating with city leaders on solutions that will have a meaningful and lasting impact on the people of New York City."

Mayor Mike Bloomberg also responded calling the decision a "temporary setback."

"Since New York City's ground-breaking limit on the portion size of sugary beverages was prevented from going into effect on March 12th, more than 2,000 New Yorkers have died from the effects of diabetes," Bloomberg said in a statement. "Also during that time, the American Medical Association determined that obesity is a disease and the New England Journal of Medicine released a study showing the deadly, and irreversible, health impacts of obesity and Type 2 diabetes -- both of which are disproportionately linked to sugary drink consumption."

The rule would stop many eateries from selling non-diet soda and other sugar-laden beverages in containers bigger than 16 ounces.

The beverage industry and other opponents say the measure is riddled with exceptions, unfair and ineffective.

The city's Department of Law has promised an appeal.

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