The dastardly public health menace that is soft drinks continues to capture the attention of America’s deeply worried legislators — especially in New York.
On Monday, the New York State Assembly held a public hearing on a proposed law which would force manufacturers of sugary soft drinks to place safety warnings on cans and bottles. The law would also mandate warnings at locations such as fast-food restaurants where soda is served.
State Assembly members and Jeffrey Dinowitz and Richard Gottfried — both Democrats from New York City — will oversee testimony concerning the relationship between fizzy, delicious beverages and a spike in obesity and related health problems in the last 30 years.
A 15-person throng of anti-soda bureaucrats, doctors, public health advocates and professors will testify.
Health advocates have attacked soda for years because, they say, it contributes to obesity and rates of diabetes and other diseases.
Efforts to limit soda consumption by force have run into legal stumbling blocks in New York City — America’s soda-banning epicenter thanks in part to former mayor Michael Bloomberg’s stalwart mission to hamper soda consumption.
Last summer, the highest state court in New York agreed with two lower courts and refused to reinstate former Bloomberg’s ban on soft drinks being served in cups or containers bigger than 16 ounces. In a 20-page opinion, Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. explained that the New York City Board of Health had “exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority.” (RELATED: Drink Up: Court Rules Bloomberg’s Large Soda Ban Dead)
In November 2014, Berkeley, Calif. became the first city in the United States to implement a soda tax. Proponents of the tax said they hope to discourage consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks by causing consumers to pay higher prices. Critics of the tax say it is likely to burden small businesses unfairly. (RELATED: Berkeley Soda Tax Supporters Hope New Cost Hits Consumers Hard)
Soda sales have declined across the country in recent years as Americans have caught onto the fact that, indeed, drinking sugary beverages can cause weight gain.
Soda companies have responded to the loss of market share by introducing smaller cans and bottles, and by introducing different beverages altogether.