The candles flicker softly against a checkered tablecloth as you gaze lovingly into your date’s eyes. “Could I have a large Coke, please?” you ask the hovering waiter. Suddenly a soda cop bursts onto the scene armed with a 17-ounce cup just to make sure you’re not getting more than 16 ounces of sugary soda.
That isn’t going to happen in New York City, not quite, but the Health Department is mustering its forces to enforce Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s ban on large sugary drinks. The ban starts tomorrow, and city inspectors will be on the scene with 17-ounce cups.
Those cups represent the Health Department’s plans to regularly inspect restaurants and eateries across the city to keep the ban intact. In an affidavit filed as part of a challenge against the anti-big drink policy, a Deputy Health Commissioner says the cups are part of the procedure, reports the New York Daily News.
“The measuring cups that we will be issuing … will be able to contain 17 fluid ounces,” he said. A violation will be issued by inspectors when any drink “clearly exceeds” 16 ounces when measured by the special cup.
“Sugary beverages are a leading driver of the obesity epidemic that is killing more than 5,000 New Yorkers annually,” a Bloomberg spokeswoman said. “Our bold initiative — which will preserve health and save lives — has already changed the national dialogue about obesity and sugary drinks.”
The ban is not without its critics, including the American Beverage Association.
“The ban is arbitrary and impacts businesses as well as consumers,” said spokesman for the ABA. “So there’s a 1-ounce margin of error. I think there’s a lot of confusion.”
Beware the 17-ounce cup, it’s coming to get ya.