by Peter Grady –
Residents of New York will have to purchase twice as many soft drinks to get the same level of sugar now that the city has voted to officially ban large sugar-sweetened drinks.
On Thursday, in a predictable vote, eight of the nine members of the New York City Board of Health voted to ban the sale of all sugar-sweetened drinks including soda, energy drinks, sweetened teas and coffees, sports drinks and sweetened fruit drinks larger than 16 ounces at the city’s restaurants, food carts, movie theaters, sports arenas and stadiums.
Beer and diet soft drinks are not included in the ban. It remains unclear how convenience store clerks are supposed to verify if a “Big Gulp” cup contains regular Pepsi or Diet Coke.
Following the ban, Mayor Michael Bloomberg justified the soda ban saying in a tweet that, “it will help save lives.”
The city has also proposed banning other products to “encourage” consumers to make choices the government approves of.
In July, Bloomberg indicated the city was also planning on targeting baby formula.
Local media outlets reported that hospitals must now lock up their baby formula in order to encourage mothers to breast feed their children rather than give them formula.
Under the mayor’s program, Latch On NYC, which took effect on Sept. 3, hospitals are forbidden from giving out so-called “swag bags” that include free baby formula samples. Additionally, whenever a newborn is given a bottle the hospital will have to fill out paperwork detailing the medical reason for doing so.
In Greeley, District 6 schools have adopted a similar type ban on foods it considers unhealthy.
Beginning in November, new guidelines will require that all foods served on the K-8 campuses meet strict guidelines in regards to the total calorie count. Excluding nuts or seeds, no more than 30 percent of the total calories can come from fat.
Saturated fat, with the exception of reduced fat cheeses, eggs and nut butters are restricted to 10 percent of the total calorie count, and no more than 35 percent of the total weight, excluding foods and vegetables is composed of sugar.
Additionally elementary and middle school students are not permitted to bring sodas to school even if they bring a lunch from home. The soda restriction applies to diet sodas as well.
The regulations go much farther than simply setting guidelines for food prepared in the school cafeteria.
Under the new rules, fundraisers held at the school are no longer allowed to include food items of any kind and teachers are no longer able to reward students for good behavior with any food items such as a small piece of candy.
Additionally once the new rules go into effect fundraisers held by groups outside the school will have to adhere to the new guidelines as well.
The prohibitions by New York and the district have caused some to criticize the decisions saying doing so amounts to the government being the “food police” telling people what they can and cannot eat.