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Appellate court blocks ban on supersized sodas

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Aug. 12, 2013

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A state appellate court in July overturned New York City’s ban on large sugary drinks, dealing the regulation its second court defeat of 2013.

The First Department of the state Supreme Court Appellate Division ruled that the city health department had exceeded its authority in enacting the 2012 Portion Cap Rule that barred regulated establishments from serving sugar-sweetened beverages containing more than 16 fluid ounces.

“The Board of Health overstepped the boundaries of its lawfully delegated authority when it promulgated the Portion Cap Rule to curtail the consumption of soda drinks. It therefore violated the state principle of separation of powers,” Supreme Court Judge Dianne T. Renwick wrote in the unanimous four-judge opinion (link). Under state law, the question of whether and how to regulate sugary-drink sizes should be left to the legislative branch, said the ruling, which upheld a March trial-court decision that stopped the ban from taking effect.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who proposed the drink-size rule to the health department, called the court decision a “temporary setback.” The mayor added: “We plan to appeal this decision as we continue the fight against the obesity epidemic.”

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