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The announcement that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed a prohibition on big-sized sugery drinks in restaurants, theaters and other venues – though, it should be noted, not convenience and grocery stores – has met been with a swift, and largely negative, reaction from private and public sectors alike.
“New Yorkers expect and deserve better than this. They can make their own choices about the beverages they purchase,” Coca-Cola said in a statement.
“Public health issues cannot be effectively addressed through a narrowly focused and misguided ban,” said Heather Oldani, a spokeswoman for McDonald’s.
Disapproval also came from New York lawmakers on both sides of the aisle:
“I understand where [Mayor Bloomberg’s] going with it,” said Rep. Yvette Clarke (D-N.Y.). “We do have an obesity problem, but where do we draw the line? Are we going to regulate how many cookies people can buy at the cookie shop, how many cakes people can buy at the cake shop, how many ice creams people can get from the ice cream shop?”
“I think there’s a point that some parental and individual responsibility should take hold, and I don’t want to regulate people’s lives to this extent – however good the purposes are, and the intent,” said Rep. Bob Turner (R-N.Y.).
But Michael Jacobson, director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, praised the mayor’s efforts to combat obesity: “It’s really the responsibility of a health department to reduce chronic disease rates. New York City is saying that’s our responsibility and we’re going do it.”
“[T]elling the average person that he has to eat X or cannot eat Y goes a step further. It intrudes on personal decisions that consumers make with their own dollars that affect just their own bodies. That’s what makes even a relatively tame proposal such as Bloomberg’s big-cup ban so controversial.”