NEW YORK, June 26 (UPI) -- New York's Court of Appeals ruled against the New York City's ban on the sale of oversized sodas, saying the city's health board overreached their powers.
The courts said that the power to initiate such a ban rests with the New York City Council, thereby ending the city's final appeal and giving the soda industry a major victory. The decision will be seen as a significant defeat for health advocates and officials, especially former Mayor Michael Bloomberg who championed the cause.
Judge Eugene Pigott Jr.'s 20-page verdict reads that the city's board of health "exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority" by enacting the large soda ban. The ruling comes after two lower courts had sided with health advocates and upheld the board of health's to prohibit the purchase of sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.
"We will continue to look for ways to stem the twin epidemics of obesity and Type 2 Diabetes by seeking to limit the pernicious effects of aggressive and predatory marketing of sugary drinks and unhealthy foods," said health commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett, in a statement.
The ban would have been difficult to implement given the jurisdictional complexities surrounding it. The ban could have been enforced in certain places like restaurants, fast food chains, delis and movie theaters, whereas grocery stores and convenience markets would be exempt.
The soda industry has been lobbying extensively to get the ban overturned, who feared that it could result in their products being targeted as threats to public health. After Bloomberg announced the initiative in 2012, the soda industry pumped millions of dollars into a campaign, that included advertisements that called the proposal an infringement of a customer's freedom.