New York City’s “soda ban,” which prohibited merchants from selling most sugary drinks that were more than sixteen ounces, has met its end. The state’s highest court ruled the ban was illegal today, overturning an attempt to reinstate the law.
Former mayor Michael Bloomberg tried to restore the controversial ban after lower courts struck it down as an overreach, but the New York Court of Appeals denied the effort.
“We hold that the New York City Board of Health, in adopting the “Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule”, exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority,” Judge Eugene Pigott Jr. wrote in the decision.
The judge claimed that the board of health “engaged in law-making and thus infringed upon the legislative jurisdiction” of New York’s City Council in its attempted ban.
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“This was a bad day for the food police and a good day for individual freedom,” said Daren Bakst, The Heritage Foundation’s Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy.
The ban also faced backlash because of its impact on small businesses.
“The ‘soda ban’ didn’t just pick winners and losers by going after sugary drinks and nothing else,” Bakst said. “It even picked winners and losers among businesses that sold and produced sugary drinks.”
New York City’s Health Commissioner Mary Bassett wrote in a statement that the city would continue its attempt to “limit the pernicious effects of aggressive and predatory marketing of sugary drinks and unhealthy foods,” as reported by NBC.
“Today’s ruling does not change the fact that sugary-drink consumption is a key driver of the obesity epidemic,” Bassett wrote. “We will continue to look for ways to stem the twin epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes.”
The city has not publicly stated whether it would appeal the 4-2 decision.