Mayor de Blasio's administration is exploring other ways to limit the size of sugary drinks in New York City just months after the state's highest court refused to reinstate a ban put in place before Michael Bloomberg left office, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The Journal reports that the mayor is holding meetings with high-level health advocates and soda industry executives about finding a way to cut down on the size of drinks to fight obesity. The issue is one of the few points of common ground between the Bloomberg and de Blasio administrations.
"Mayor de Blasio has made clear he supports a ban on large sugary drinks,” his spokesman, Phil Walzak, told the Journal on Thursday. “The administration is currently considering plans on the best way to reach that goal.”
According to the Journal, city health officials have met with advocates and executives for major soda brands including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and the makers of Dr. Pepper and Snapple.
The move comes a few months after the New York Supreme Court ruled not to reinstate a law restricting the size of sodas and sugary drinks sold at city restaurants, delis, movie theaters, stadiums and street carts to 16 ounces. The ban was put in place in Sept. 2012 but was struck down after courts ruled that the city Board of Health didn't have the authority to enact the regulations.
Soda has been under fire for years, with health advocates saying the sugary beverages are unique in their harmfulness because people don't realize how much high-fructose corn syrup they're guzzling. The bad publicity has helped lead to a steady decline in U.S. soda sales for nearly a decade. But other sugary drinks such as sports drinks and energy drinks have been growing.
To help curb consumption, lawmakers and health advocates around the country have proposed soda taxes in recent years. None have succeeded, however, in part because of heavy campaigning and lobbying from the beverage industry. In California, a measure that would have slapped a warning label on sodas was recently defeated.
Coke and Pepsi have also been rolling out smaller cans and bottles, some as small as 7.5 ounces. The idea is that people would be more willing to drink soda if they could control the portion sizes. The smaller sizes are also more profitable for companies.