NYC caps legal size of sugared drinks at 16 ounces

Ban passes despite opposition from city residents.

September 10—Non-commercial foodservice facilities in New York City will be prohibited from selling sugared soft drinks in servings larger than 16 ounces under a controversial law that takes effect March 12.

The ban will also extend to restaurants, concessions, food carts and movie theaters, but not to supermarkets and convenience stores.

The law was passed Thursday despite considerable opposition from residents and soft-drink sellers. Six of ten New Yorkers said in a survey conducted by The New York Times that the ban was a bad idea. The research suggested that a majority of residents viewed the law as an overreach by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the source and champion of the proposal.

The Bloomberg Administration has successfully pushed for a number of health-related measures that subsequently spread to jurisdictions throughout the nation. The city was the incubator for such movements as the ban of trans fat and the requirement that chain restaurants post nutritional information on their menus.

Under the big-drink ban, foodservice establishments will be a grace period of roughly 10 weeks before they would be fined for infractions.

The serving-size cap would not apply to diet or unsweetened drinks.

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Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

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