It looks like Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to ban sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces, to fight obesity, has been approved by the New York City Board of Health in a unanimous 9-0 vote. While it comes as no surprise coming from Nanny Bloomberg, it effectively does nothing to prevent obesity. People can still purchase more than one soda at a time, thus the only thing it really does is make people pay more. Wait, maybe that was the entire intention!
The restrictions will take effect in six months, unless it is blocked by a judge, and will apply to soft drinks, but not to fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes (now there’s some sugar for you), or alcoholic beverages. Even “no-calorie” diet sodas are not affected.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who proposed the measure, celebrated its passage on Twitter.
“NYC’s new sugary drink policy is the single biggest step any gov’t has taken to curb obesity,” he wrote. “It will help save lives.”
Don’t believe a word of it. It will not help save lives and that is not the intention. The intention is more money and more control. People will inevitably buy more soda in smaller containers and then they will pay more taxes for their purchases. Government has absolutely no business telling people what they can or cannot eat.
I fully agree with Mayor Michael Bloomberg (also the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News) that most drinks are too sweet and that we should do something about this. Indeed, I have. Fourteen years ago, I started Honest Tea Inc. with one of my students. The idea was to make tea that tastes like tea, not liquid candy. This year, the company will sell 100 million bottles of tea, ades and kids’ pouches, all with fewer than 100 calories a package.
Here I was thinking I was part of the solution only to find that these drinks will be banned. Banned! Why? Because the products come in 16.9-ounce (500-milliliter) bottles and thus exceed the free pass for drinks at 16 ounces.
Coca-Cola Co. (KO) bought Honest Tea more than a year ago, so I no longer have any financial interest or managerial role in the company. But I do have a keen interest in promoting logic along with delicious healthy beverages.
Here’s what doesn’t make sense to me: Why is it appropriate to sell a 16-ounce bottle of Snapple (DPS) Sweet Tea with 240 calories or SoBe No Fear with 260 calories and 70 grams of sugar, but not a 16.9-ounce bottle of Honest Tea Honey Green Tea with 70 calories and 18 grams of sugar? The SoBe product has almost four times the sugar and calories, yet Honest Tea is the one being banned.
So you see the issue is not obesity. Other sugar filled drinks are still allowed to be sold in bigger containers. The idea of obesity is just a smoke screen for what the real issue is: Money and control.
I wonder what this will do for companies like Coca-Cola and their advertisements in Times Square in New York City.
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