We’re a pretty health and wellness-minded bunch here at Birchbox, which is why we’ve been paying close attention to the debate about the potential New York ban of large sodas and other sugary drinks in restaurants, movie theatres, and other food establishments. While there have been similar governmental regulations about public caloric consumption in many other states, this is by far the most aggressive step in the trend—and now a judge’s new ruling about the ban has sparked the conversation again.
Here’s a quick refresher on the so-called “soda ban”: the regulation goes beyond placing limitations on carbonated beverages, and includes any non-alcoholic drink over 16 ounces that’s pre-sweetened by the manufacturer or vendor with sugar or other sweeteners like high-fructose corn syrup and honey. This includes lemonade, sports drinks, slushies, smoothies, coffee and tea-based drinks. The only exception to the ban are drinks that contain 50% or more milk, as the city believes the calories in milk to have important nutritional value. (So consider your seasonal lattes and milkshakes safe!)
The big update on the ban is that the day before it was set to take effect, March 12, a local judge blocked the potentially precedent-setting effort. The judge called the ban “arbitrary and capricious,” citing the unequal rules regarding which drinks were or weren’t covered by these regulations. He also said there was a lack of proof that the ban would truly improve public health as drink refills (which were allowed) would defeat its entire purpose. Immediately following the ruling, the mayor’s office tweeted that they planned to appeal as soon as possible. Clearly the ruling has led to a somewhat controversial and spirited ongoing conversation.
What do you think? Should limits be placed on what we purchase and consume if it’s meant to help keep us healthy?