Judge Cans Bloomberg’s Large Sugary Drinks Ban, Calling It “Arbitrary And Capricious”

Just today we heard about Starbucks shrugging off NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks, and it appears they were justified in waiting to change their menus: A judge in New York tossed out Bloomberg’s ban one day before it was supposed to take effect, calling it “fraught with arbitrary and capricious” consequences.

Reuters says State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling responded to the the American Beverage Association’s lawsuit against the ban by ruling it invalid.

The New York Times says the judge pointed out the inequity in the rules as they pertained to certain beverages (like the 50% milk rule in lattes) and food establishments.

“It applies to some but not all food establishments in the city,” Justice Tingling wrote. “It excludes other beverages that have significantly higher concentrations of sugar sweeteners and/or calories.”

And the fact that consumers can go up and get a refill of their 16-ounce soda basically defeats the purpose of the rules, wrote the judge.

Bloomberg saw the ban as a way to cut down on obesity rates in the city, by forcing restaurants, street carts and any business with prepared food to keep the sizes at 16-ounces or fewer. Health Department officials were even armed with 17-ounce cups to aid in future inspections.

The judge didn’t seem to be down with Bloomberg’s view that his Board of Health had broad powers to improve public health. Seeing things that way “would leave its authority to define, create, mandate and enforce limited only by its own imagination,” and “create an administrative Leviathan.”

The mayor’s office has since tweeted that it will appeal the ruling:

View the ruling below:

Judge Tingling Invalidates NYC Soda Ban by

Judge tosses New York City’s planned ban on large sugary drinks [Reuters]
Judge Blocks New York City’s Ban on Big Sugary Drinks [New York Times]