A group of organizations and businesses sued the city in an attempt to overturn the Bloomberg administration’s ban on supersized sodas earlier this month.
The assembly includes the Teamsters Local 812, Korean-American Grocers Association of New York, National Association of Theater Owners of New York State, National Restaurant Association, New York State Coalition of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and the American Beverage Association.
Caroline Starke, a spokesperson for these groups, said the plaintiffs are challenging the Board of Health’s authority in court because the board does not have the authority to unilaterally enact the ban.
“Under New York State law the power to pass new laws is reserved for the legislative branch, here, the City Council,” Starke said.
Starke added that the lawsuit was filed to question the Board of Health’s power.
“This lawsuit is not about the health of Americans or more specifically, New Yorkers,” Starke said. “The Board of Health does not have the authority to create law, plain and simple. That’s why we’re asking the court to rule.”
Marc La Vorgna, press secretary for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, emphasized the authority the Board of Health has over the well-being of New Yorkers.
“The Board of Health absolutely has the authority to regulate matters affecting health and the obesity crisis killing nearly 6,000 New Yorkers a year, and impacting the lives of thousands more unquestionably falls under its purview,” La Vorgna said. “The Mayor’s plan to limit the size of sugary beverages, the leading contributor to the obesity epidemic, has spurred a long overdue national dialogue on obesity.”
Many NYU students said they understand both sides of the argument.
“I believe that the government should have the right to regulate businesses’ ability to sell products which are unhealthy for the consumer,” said Laura Waters, a CAS freshman. “It is the place of those who are the distributers of these products to make sure that the customer is made aware of the negative ramifications and protected from them.”
But CAS freshman Zack Freeman stated that the government is overstepping its powers in enforcing the ban.
“I am against the ban,” Freeman said. “It isn’t the government’s place to tell me how much soda to drink.”
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 22 print edition. Patricia Lin is a staff writer. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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