- Last Updated: 9:10 AM, June 5, 2012
- Posted: 1:31 AM, June 5, 2012
Mayor Bloomberg’s push to ban large sodas has gone flat.
City Council members panned the limits on sweet drinks during a hearing yesterday, and two new public-opinion polls showed that New Yorkers and Americans want the government to lay off their daily sugar fix.
Lawmakers ridiculed Health Commissioner Thomas Farley — one of the architects of the ban — during the hearing on the Health Department’s budget hearing yesterday.
Councilman Oliver Koppell (D-Bronx) demanded to know if Farley also plans to limit king-sized candy bars or beer.
“I hope my questions have indicated the arbitrariness of what you’re doing,” Koppell fumed.
And Councilman David Greenfield (D-Brooklyn) wanted to know why the city wouldn’t consider limiting the size of burgers or fries.
“Why are you taking this piecemeal approach which may or may not work, which you don’t necessarily even have the science to back up?” he asked.
Farley — a svelte health fanatic — defended the plan, saying people’s well-being was on the line.
“Obesity is a big problem . . . The single largest contributor is the sugared drinks. There’s something about this product which is particularly associated with weight gain,” Farley explained.
Bloomberg will formally submit the proposal to limit the size of sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit drinks made up of less than 70 percent juice to the Board of Health on June 12.
If the Board of Health approves the limits during a scheduled September vote, the ban would take effect in March 2013.
But soda lovers hope that day never comes.
NY1 and Marist released a poll showing that city residents — by 53-42 percent — think the proposed 16-ounce limit on sweetened beverages is faulty.
The biggest opposition was on Staten Island and in Queens, where 58 percent of residents oppose the suggested ban.
Manhattanites were sweetest on the low-sugar push, with 52 percent supporting it.
A separate Rasmussen Reports survey yesterday showed that 65 percent of Americans oppose such a plan, while only 24 percent approve.
The limits would apply to restaurants, mobile food carts and other establishments that receive letter grades from the Department of Health — about 20,000 in all.
Violators will be fined $200 but will not lose points on letter grades.
The limits would not apply to diet drinks or beverages with fewer than 25 calories per 8 ounces — and it would not apply to supermarkets or 7-Eleven stores, which market super-sized sodas.
During the hearings, some lawmakers criticized the Bloomberg administration for pushing the proposal without getting input from the City Council.
Speaker Christine Quinn has said attorneys are studying whether the council should have a vote on this proposal.